General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Why is vanilla considered plain in ice cream and descriptive for normal?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (16955points) 1 week ago

Why was it considered normal? Or boring?

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20 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Like sweetened frozen cream.

Jeruba's avatar

Vanilla is a real flavor, and a very delicious one. It’s not the absence of other flavors. But for some reason it seems to have been thought of that way and used metaphorically for “plain” things other than ice cream.

kritiper's avatar

Usually, vanilla is added to a lot of things to enhance flavor by creating a certain aromatically pleasing scent to a product. I would bet that chocolate ice cream contains vanilla. It’s probably part of the basic recipe.

JLeslie's avatar

As far as ice cream, I think it is viewed as a base to add other flavors. It’s a neutral. Plus, it’s a “white” food like pasta, chicken, bread, potatoes, all foods that children tend to like, because the flavor is fairly bland.

I don’t think of vanilla as normal, I think of vanilla as descriptive word for boring.

Jeruba's avatar

See? That’s what I mean. But it isn’t either just a basic, neutral nonflavor or a synonym for boring. I think that’s a learned association and not a deserved characterization. In its own right, it’s a delicate but distinctive, warm flavor that can be very rich in itself and also enhances other flavors. French vanilla ice cream is anything but boring.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I don’t think there is anything wrong with bland food, it doesn’t have to be seen as a negative. I like vanilla ice cream, vanilla cake, pound cake, shortbread, and many other similarly flavored sweets. My husband is similar, he likes flan, tres leches, and plain cheesecake. I think that’s all along the same lines.

Would you say using it to describe someone as boring is using it incorrectly? It won’t be understood?

janbb's avatar


zenvelo's avatar

When one sees the panoply of flavors at a top ice cream store, and there is plain white vanilla all by itself as the basic “unflavored” ice cream, one understands how describing something as “vanilla” means boring, routine, not too flavorful. Like “vanilla sex” as a descriptor of unadventurous missionary hetero sex acts.

Jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie A good vanilla ice cream isn’t bland.

Try some vanilla bean ice cream. It turned this chocolate lover into a vanilla fan.

JLeslie's avatar

@Johnsblond I’ve had good vanilla, I like vanilla. I would still describe it as bland compared to flavors like coffee or mint. I don’t like chocolate ice cream, so that doesn’t factor in for me. I’m not a big ice cream person, and in fact, I especially am not fond of very high fat ice cream. The higher the fat the more diluted the flavor tastes to me ironically.

Jonsblond's avatar

^blasphemy! I could live off of ice cream.

JLeslie's avatar

@Johnblond I’m very grateful I don’t crave it. I crave enough foods that are bad for me.

kritiper's avatar

Chocolate ice cream is just so SUBLIME!

SEKA's avatar

Chocolate ice cream is the next best thing to having GREAT sex

Strauss's avatar

If anyone thinks vanilla is boring, try putting some in your French toast batter, with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg!

zenvelo's avatar

^^^^But you just imply vanilla needs more by adding nutmeg and cinnamon.

SEKA's avatar

^^^^Vanilla doesn’t “need” more, but it sure does enhance the flavor of whatever you add

LostInParadise's avatar

it is only comparatively recently that vanilla got its reputation. Only relatively small amounts could be produced of this New World plant. These days a lot of vanilla is synthetic. Link

josie's avatar

Don’t know. Seems like it deserves better

kruger_d's avatar

Synthetic vanillan, a wood pulp byproduct, is pretty flat and one-dimensional compared to real vanilla, so we should really describe something as “vanillan” to mean basic or boring.

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