In Defense of Vanilla: Owning What’s Ours

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I don’t like semi-sweet chocolate.

But I feel like I should. I mean, it’s semi-sweet. That semi gives it an edge. Some bite. It’s darker and more mysterious. More grown up. But I like milk chocolate. Milk chocolate doesn’t compete with other flavors that chocolate should hang out with, like peanut butter. But isn’t that what kids eat? Peanut butter cups with milk chocolate? I like chocolate for babies.

I don’t like olives.

I wish I could. Olives are one of those foods that when people like them, they really like them. You can put them everywhere! On pizzas, in salads, in bread, or even fancy drinks. People who like olives must have such sophisticated palettes. I think I’ll go have a cucumber.

I don’t like coffee.

Now, take out the caffeine and add some sugar, cream, and hazelnut syrup and you’ve got yourself a deal. But at that point it’s hardly coffee. Coffee is just the vehicle for a sugary liquid morning-dessert. Don’t people who drink their coffee black seem so bad-ass? “I’ll take my coffee black,” said the most bad-ass woman ever. Maybe I’ll have some peppermint tea.

Maybe I have simple tastes. Or maybe, as I told my parents when I was a kid, I don’t like all that stuff because my tastebuds actually work and yours are old and broken down.

Or maybe, just maybe…I appreciate subtlety.

I love vanilla ice cream.

A fine vanilla ice cream. Quality. Purity. Vanilla bean, french vanilla, tahitian vanilla. Infinite, intricate varitions on creaminess, coolness, iciness, flavor. The taste of comfort and clean and elegance. Lightness. No distractions. Just like I
like it.

Do you do inner monologues about your taste? Defend your favorite flavors in the comments.

6 thoughts on “In Defense of Vanilla: Owning What’s Ours

  1. I’m also a big vanilla fan, though I do like all the other things you don’t. :) But if I’m choosing between chocolate and vanilla, I almost always choose vanilla. It’s smoother and less harsh to me – and maybe lighter?

    I’ve grown into liking many of the things that I disliked as a child, but there a few that still remain, and I think they’re mostly a texture thing – mushrooms, muscles, scallops. I try them every now and then to see if I’ve changed, but I think those dislikes are here to stay.

  2. It is funny you feel like your tastes are not mature. As a kid I was the opposite, and I was always embarrassed that my tastes were snobby. I don’t like soda much and would always choose mineral water with lemon, and while I also don’t like coffee I have always preferred, from my very first taste black leaf tea (no tea bags please).

  3. I love vanilla, vanilla lattes are one of my favorite drinks. Someone once told me that was boring, but I love the way the vanilla interacts & blends with the espresso, other flavors can be jarring. Hazelnut works really well, too, with or without chocolate, which can overwhelm everything, if there’s too much. There’s a place around here that makes vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, divine! Vanilla isn’t boring, it can be an amazing & delicious experience!

  4. This post is fantastic!! I completely get where you’re coming from. My taste buds are finicky an pretty specific, but at different times…sometimes I’ll like olives, then, all the sudden, they’re the worst thing on the planet. But, I always like a good vanilla bean ice cream, I’m all about subtlety.

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