Cooking food is of course universal, and a major part of any society or nation’s culture is what the people eat (and sometimes, what they don’t). In the United States, the rich ethnic diversity of Americans past and present means that the United States has seen ingredients, cooking ideas, and dishes from across the globe. Common Western fare such as French, Italian, and German cooking is typical, but so is a broader swath of cooking from Chinese stir-fry to Mexican burritos to Middle Eastern falafel and Greek food and beyond. This means that American chefs and home cooks may enjoy a dazzling variety of ingredients and cooking ideas, and even a regular grocery store will have serious culinary diversity to offer. This includes specialized ingredients such as spices, saffron, and organic vanilla beans such as Madagascar vanilla beans and more. A person may buy vanilla beans in little glass bottles, and they may also find edible gold leaf for sale online if they so choose. Professional chefs such as bakers and restaurant chefs may take a particular interest in such ingredients as gold leaf, Madagascar vanilla beans, and more.
Vanilla is the only edible member of the orchid family, which in turn includes some 25,000 varieties and nearly 10,000 different hybrids. Vanilla comes in a few varieties, such as the popular Madagascar vanilla beans, and some varieties of vanilla may have subtle flavor differences. Why might Madagascar vanilla beans prove popular in cooking? In popular American lexicon, “vanilla” is often used to describe something that is plain or ordinary or even taken for granted, but this is not entirely a serious sentiment. After all, vanilla is in fact highly popular as an ingredient, and vanilla-flavored ice cream is the most popular of all. Vanilla is one of those foods that is taken for granted but would be dearly missed if it completely vanished somehow.
Vanilla is a key ingredient in baking most pastries, such as cakes and cupcakes and the like. Chefs will have ingredient ranging from flour to eggs to yeast to sugar on hand, and certainly vanilla, too. How does that work? After all, vanilla beans are distinctive for being long, thin, dry beans that hardly look appetizing. But these bean are not eaten as they are; rather, they are valued for their vanilla extract, a liquid that adds strong and distinctive flavor to any cake batter it’s used for. This makes it an organic ingredient free of processing, which some cake patrons may appreciate. Pure vanilla extract takes some work to get, however; pure vanilla contains 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon during its extraction, as FDA specifications say. But this doesn’t mean that vanilla is a gourmet-only item; while professional bakers certainly make good use of vanilla beans during baking, everyday Americans can make plenty of use of them, too. Many grocery stores may have vanilla beans for sale in their spice sections, and they might be a bit costly but they’re fine organic ingredients for baking. A shopper may find these beans and use them for baking a cake or cupcakes, or similar treats, at home.
Another classy ingredient for baking is gold leaf. And yes, golf leaf is in fact real gold, but it’s so thin (often just one micron thick) it’s quite safe for people to eat. Gold leaf is mainly a visual, since it has no nutritional value or flavor of its own. Speaking of flavor, gold leaf is thin enough so that it won’t have an unpleasantly metallic flavor when eaten. This also means that, being real gold, gold leaf is expensive for its weight. But, it’s so thin that even ordinary Americans can afford packets that contain small sheets of it. Most often, gold leaf is used to decorate cakes, such as wedding cakes, and may be used as a sort of icing. This makes for a dazzling visual flair that brides and grooms might want on their wedding cake, and anyone can safely eat it with the rest of the cake.