I have learnt more about vanilla than someone whose ass isn't ever going to grow it needs to. Fun tidbits:
.It's expensive as shit
.It has to be hand-pollinated for commercial purposes
.Fake vanilla can come from beaver batty
.We can grow it locally
.It has grades, like meat does
Beaver batty "vanilla" isn't vanilla, but a similar-scented substance from (close to) the animal's anal glands. It goes in foods, too.
Fake vanilla/"vanilla" extracts can also come from non-orchid sources, such as wood
But the best thing I learnt, helping #decolonisefood is that french vanilla does not fucking exist.
Vanilla is not grown in France.
Like much of the co-opted foods of the world, vanilla came from WINKA LatAm (incl the Caribbean).
The other best thing is vanilla's etymology
Vanilla and vagina are cognates 🙂
Vagina and vanilla come from the latin "vagina", meaning "sheath, covering (i.e. something that covers)".
Vanilla really means little vagina (little sheath :))

Looking at the flat-leave vanilla orchid and imagining a vagina, we can understand.
Lat. vagina -> Span vaina -> vainilla (illa being the Spanish diminutive).

Anywho, we thank the Totonac from WINKA Mexico for tlīlxōchitl (black ink flower)/vanilla & for drinking it with hot xocolatl, & we thank Edmond Albius, the slave whose genius gave vanilla its varieties
Imagine a whole professor of fucking botany couldn't do what the Edmond, a slave, did. It vexing, it makes you think of the brilliance (and peace and prosperity) stifled then (and now) and of how much further we could have been as a species were it not for those savages
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