Why Does Anyone Buy Artificial Vanilla?

Last week I ran out of vanilla extract. I’m not sure when or where I bought that bottle of vanilla, but it must have been years ago; it could have come with the house for all I know. In any case, the bottle real vanilla extract was acquired before I became a serious home cook. Since I’ve taken a more active interest in cooking I’ve noticed that everyone recommends that you the real extract versus the artificial stuff. I was actually surprised to see that my vanilla was in fact the natural stuff.

When I went to the grocery store to get a new bottle they had the real and artificial stuff side by side and the real stuff was about three dollars or so more expensive. This was a decent sized bottle that will probably last me several years, so I couldn’t help but wonder who would bother buying the artificial stuff.

I made banana bread this evening and I used a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract. It’s not like there are many recipes out there that call for a half cup of vanilla extract. A bottle of vanilla extract for most people will last several years, so the extra three or four dollars every couple of years will be imperceptible. If you are literally so destitute that you can’t spare an extra three dollars for something that will last for years then you probably aren’t spending your money on vanilla extract anyway. If you are buying artificial vanilla extract there is a pretty good chance that you are cheap.