★~♥~♥~★~ El Morno! ♥~★~★~♥ ~
November 10, 2014
★~ Today’s Quote: “Action expresses priorities.” – Gandhi
★~ Vanilla Cupcake Day:
While chocolate is the favorite cupcake, there is nothing plain about a vanilla cupcake dressed up with a few sprinkles.
★~ Forget Me Not Day:
A Medieval knight and his beloved were walking near a river when he fell into the water. The weight of his armor kept him from escaping his fate. Before he slipped away he handed his love a handful of blue flowers and said, “forget me not.” Today is a good day to touch base with with family, friends and loved ones, especially those who we haven’t seen in a while.
★~ Today in History:
♥~ 1775 – The U.S. Marines were organized under authority of the Continental Congress and have since served in every American armed conflict. Semper Fi!
♥- 1951 – Direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began as Mayor Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey, called the mayor of Alameda, California. Eighty-four area codes were assigned for areas in the U.S., Canada, and many Caribbean nations.
♥~ 1991 – Lightening, a pet turtle who lived in Hutchinson, Kansas, snapped onto an 8-year-old’s upper lip and wouldn’t turn loose. The parents called 911, but before help arrived they offered Lightening a carrot. Lightning took the bribe and let go. The boy’s lip swelled, but he was okay. There was no mention of the fate of the turtle.
♥~ 1994 – The Codex Leicester, the only Leonardo da Vinci manuscript owned in the United States and the only one in the world still in private hands, was sold at auction. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates paid $30.8 million for it. It has been since been exhibited in Venice, Milan, Rome, Paris and New York.
★~ Born Today:
♥~ 1925 – Richard Burton (Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.) actor: Camelot, Hamlet, Anne of the Thousand Days, Becket, The Desert Rats, The Longest Day, Look Back in Anger, The Night of the Iguana, The Robe, The Sandpiper, The Taming of the Shrew, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; TV narrator: Winston Churchill-The Valiant Years, Ellis Island; one of Elizabeth Taylor’s ex-husbands
♥~ 1948 – Greg Lake- musician: bass, singer: group: Emerson, Lake and Palmer: From the Beginning, Lucky Man; solo: I Believe in Father Christmas
♥~ 1959 – (Laura) Mackenzie Phillips actress: One Day at a Time, American Graffiti, Eleanor & Franklin; daughter of singer John Phillips [The Mamas and The Papas]
★~ Vanilla Gallimaufry:
♥~ Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family, the largest family of flowering plants in the world.
♥~ There are more than 150 varieties of vanilla, however only two types – Bourbon and Tahitian — are used commercially.
♥~ Vanilla grows within the 20-degree band either side of the Equator and is native to the Americas. The vanilla you know best, Vanilla planifolia (also known as fragrans), traditionally grew wild on the Atlantic Gulf side of Mexico from Tampico around to the northeast tip of South America, and from Colima, Mexico to Ecuador on the Pacific side. It also grew throughout the Caribbean.
♥~ The Olmeca people on the Gulf Coast of Mexico were perhaps the first to use vanilla as a flavoring in beverages. Before that, vanilla was used as a fragrance in temples and the flowers were placed inside of amulets to protect the wearer from the evil eye.
♥~ The Totonaca people of the Gulf coast of Mexico were probably the first people to domesticate vanilla. They continue to cultivate the fruit that they consider was given to them by the gods.
♥~ Vanilla first left Mexico in the early 1500s on ships bound for Spain. It was originally believed only to have value as a perfume. It wasn’t until Cortes arrived in 1519 that they discovered that it was also used as a flavor.
Until the late 19th century, Mexico had the monopoly on growing vanilla, but now Madagascar grows the majority of the world’s crop. Additional countries that grow vanilla include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Uganda, Kenya, China, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands.
♥~ Vanilla is the world’s most labor-intensive agricultural crop, which is why it’s so expensive. It can take up to three years after the vines are planted before the first flowers appear. The fruits, which resemble large green beans, must remain on the vine for nine months in order to completely develop their signature aroma. However, when the beans are harvested, they are still partially green and therefore have neither flavor nor fragrance. They develop these distinctive properties during the curing and drying process.
♥~ When the vanilla beans are harvested, they can be dried entirely by sun. However, in many countries they are treated with hot water or heat and are then placed in the sun every day for weeks-to-months until they have shrunk to 20% of their original size. After this process is complete, the beans are sorted for size and quality. Then they will rest for a month or two to finish developing their full flavor and fragrance.
♥~ Because vanilla has always been so valuable, it has a long history of robbery and intrigue. In Madagascar, vanilla rustling has been a major problem when the price for vanilla is at a cyclic high. Growers brand the individual beans with pins or a knife when they are green and the marks remain after the beans are dried. Whenever someone suspects that their beans are stolen, they can determine by the distinctive tattoo whether or not the beans are theirs.
♥~ Bourbon vanilla is named for the island now known as Reunion. In the early 19th century it was known as Ile Bourbon. The Bourbon vanilla plant stock originally came from Mexico. Bourbon vanilla and Mexican vanilla are essentially the same though soil and climate can produce subtle flavor differences.
♥~ Tahitian vanilla plant stock also originally comes from Mexico and is a cross of Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla odorata. Genetic modification changed its flavor and fragrance and it is now considered its own species. It is significantly different from Bourbon and Mexican vanilla.
♥~ The United States is the world’s largest consumer of vanilla, followed by Europe – especially France. Between 1400 and 2300 tons of dried vanilla is produced worldwide each year. This is significantly less than cacao (chocolate) and coffee, which has millions of containers of cacao and coffee beans.
♥~ Vanilla is not only used as a flavor in foods and beverages, but also in perfumes. It’s also used in many industrial applications such as a flavoring for medicines and as a fragrance to conceal the strong smell of rubber tires, paint, and cleaning products. However, these days most of the vanilla fragrances and much of vanilla flavorings are imitation.
♥~ The dairy industry uses a large percentage of the world’s vanilla in ice creams, yogurt (fresh and frozen), and other flavored dairy products.
♥~ Because vanilla is so much in demand, and because it’s so expensive, synthetics are often used instead of natural vanilla. In fact, 98% of vanilla used as a flavor and fragrance is synthetic. A new generation of imitation vanillas threaten the vanilla industry’s existence. Many corporations substitute imitation vanilla and then call it “natural flavors” on the label. This undercuts the growers, who can’t compete with the cheaper synthetic vanillas, and many growers have torn up their crops and left their land in search of work in industrialized countries. Nothing beats real vanilla. Don’t fall for the imitations.
I love the smell of real vanilla. Vickie (our friend and camp helper) bottled Vanilla last year and gifted us a bottle along with some of our very own vanilla beans. It smelled great and add extract flavor to out baking. Despite being the blogger who does not cook I do like cooking with real ingredients. Our door-to-door Watkins man sells real vanilla and you can also order it on-line.
My teen sold the Jag yesterday and did happy dance, could the VW June Bug be close behind? It would be nice to get that sale over and done with before the North wind really starts to blow.
Off and running early this Monday Morno. We have to get the doughnut research in early, and our Bouvier des flandres to their salon appointment. I bid you a fare Monday adieu!
Odd Loves Company,