Reader Richard wants to know if I plan on using real or imitation vanilla in my vanilla slices. Richard is referring to an incident that occurred a year or so when I extolled the virtues of imitation vanilla extract and shortly got dumped on — to put it mildly — by many (many) of my readers. On the list of all-time most unpopular Joe Pastry posts that one ranks right up near the top, outdone only by the post in which I criticized gourmet salts, the one where I argued trans fats were no big deal, and of course the one where I extolled my love of cheap coating chocolates. Of course I didn’t win many friends the time I implied that there might be holes in Darwinian theory, either. Nor did I that time I defended McDonald’s animal slaughtering practices, the time I published a list of my all-time favorite food additives, or the time I compared the search for authentic ethnic restaurants to an episode of A Cook’s Tour in which Anthony Bourdain was forced to eat raw warthog anus. None of those put me on the fast track to a People’s Choice Award, thanks for bringing all that up, Richard.
To answer your question, I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be using imitation vanilla extract as I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to go about making
snot blocks vanilla slices. Am I going the epicurean made-entirely-from-scratch route? Or the more everyman semi-home-made route? So far I haven’t gotten a sense for which approach is more representative of the vanilla slice as it’s consumed Down Under. More information please, all you on the far side of the equator.