vanilla, a flavor that in American usage has become synonymous with “ordinary” and “plain,” is actually exotic, intoxicating, and vastly underutilized. It shines on its own and enhances other flavors. Vanilla is equally useful in desserts, confections, beverages, entrees, and side dishes, and it stars in such beloved dishes as vanilla crème brûlée, vanilla milkshakes, chocolate chip cookies, and white and yellow cakes. It has medicinal value, adds aromatic notes to perfumes, and is a proven aphrodisiac. See aphrodisiacs; crème brûlée; and soda fountain.