Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Vanilla

Remember what I said about how my taste leans towards things that have a certain level of complexity? I was completely wrong. I think it's more accurate to say that I like some things that are very complex, some things which are somewhat complex and finally, I like very simple things.

I had heard once that a favorite ice cream flavor among the Japanese (which I am, even though I grew up in New York) is Vanilla. I don't know where this study came from and it's one heck of a generalization but I like vanilla, too, and always choose it over chocolate. I prefer very simple cakes: Pound cake gets my vote over cakes with chocolate, fruits, nuts, frosting, syrup, caramel and all that intricate jazz (the exception is custard; custard is the work of the devil). Now, I do love a good Baklava and I'd probably occasionally pick that over pound cake, but still, I think the cake I'd miss the most if I were to never have cake again would be a Beard Papa cream puff or a slice of kasutera (Castilla or you guessed it: pound cake). Granted the Japanese add subtle but very clever variations to the pound cake with ingredients like marron and green tea, and the cakes all have these textures--aha, textures which I enjoy greatly, but pound cake is really just pound cake.

So what does this mean? Am I just a little kid in a grown-up's body (barely, since I wear Juniors' size), happy with the most basic taste of milk and sugar, and does this juvenile taste of mine cross over to the perfume realm? Maybe, maybe not. I can get into the sweet simplicity of Molinard Vanille (a simple yet bold woody vanilla scent) or for a change of pace, Serendipitous (a soft and airy, wearable chocolate cloud) but then I can lose my entire being in an intense, complex blend of purple fruits, amber and civet like Van Cleef & Arpels Gem (yes, I'm still obsessed with this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink '80s power perfume), a rare taste of the hedonism of yesteryear never to be found again.