Pour Some Sugar On Me


Alton Brown changed my mind about vanilla. Vanilla gets a bad rap, he insisted. We shouldn’t be comparing boring, plain things to vanilla. Vanilla is a unique flavor. It’s extremely labor-intensive to grow, making it the second most expensive spice, after saffron.

Most of us consume food flavored with a vanilla doppelganger in liquid form. That’s not actually vanilla. I’m too lazy at the moment to find my bottle, but I’m guessing there’s HFCS in that little guy. A baker I am not, I will admit to never fiddling with a real bean. But I am a fan of Häagen-Dazs’ new gimmick: real ice cream.

All-natural ice cream crafted with only five ingredients for incredibly pure, balanced flavor… and surprisingly less fat!

Their “five” has been out for a few months now, but I just recently purchased a pint of their vanilla.   I usually go for the crazy ones with multiple flavors going on: brownie chunks with espresso and caramel swirls in cinnamon oatmeal ice cream. Or something like that.

Anyway, HG’s vanilla contains only: skim milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla (vanilla bean flakes, vanilla extract). It’s fucking delicious. It does taste different than other vanillas. It’s bolder. Thicker. It’s familiar, but better than you remember.

But more, I like this trend. Pepsi came out with a “throwback” version featuring, wait for it, real sugar. Mountain Dew is also on the bandwagon. And the version of Coca-Cola sold in Mexico — with sugar — is gaining popularity in the States.

Now it’s not like these are suddenly health drinks, but it is nice to know that the big companies recognize that consumers want the real thing, even if it’s still not all that good for us.

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  • Amy February 1, 2010  

    I like this ice cream as well! I’ve only tried the chocolate one, which is better than plain chocolate ones I’ve had before, and my brother swears by the brown sugar flavor.

    Also, I had Mexican coke for the first time this weekend, and it’s very different but very good. I can see how anyone used to this would be unable to drink the kind that’s sold in the U.S.

  • Jenna February 1, 2010  

    Awhile ago I made vanilla ice cream with a Tahitian vanilla bean and it was A-mazing. Like, vanilla does get a bad rap; people call it “boring” or unimaginative. But when you have the real stuff you realize that it’s this incredibly complex, nuanced, subtle fascinating flavor. We should give vanilla more respect.

  • Kristen February 1, 2010  

    Speaking of “things that are not health foods but have switched to sugar,” I think a lot of Kraft products have switched or are in the middle of switching over. The newest Miracle Whip labels say something like “new formula, same great taste” and is now formulated with sugar in place of HFCS. (Yeah, Kraft is the great food Satan, Miracle Whip is for hobos… whatevs, more for me, thanks.)

  • jestergoblin February 1, 2010  

    How is this really different from what Breyers used to be?

    Also, making your own vanilla is super easy but takes forever. I’ve got a handle of it in my cupboard. It’s just vanilla beans, vodka and bourbon.

  • dad gansie February 2, 2010  

    Yea down with the saying plain as vanilla, except for…
    real stuff is better
    still anxious to start my homemade kahula with real van beans that gansie Got
    me for chaukkah
    ps I know. It’s bad but I’m a diet soda drinker

  • harcout breton February 10, 2010  

    A true classic, vanilla beans ice cream reminds me a lot of childhood craziness. Thanks for the recipe, definitely gonna give this a shot.

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