Awhile ago I watched an episodic documentary about spices. The episode that changed my culinary point of view took an in-depth look at the history of vanilla. I did not know that vanilla was native to Mexico. Human beings transplanted vanilla to Oceania, and Mexico lost its stranglehold on the product. The region in Mexico that was once the only source of the pods has begun to sell their vanilla as a luxury item – only in Mexico, eh?
It was Mexican vanilla that I used in the variation of my baked pear recipe. By using the liquid vanilla more juice was produced, perfect for pouring over the pears and the ice cream. The flavour of the vanilla was more subtle as well. Perfumed without overpowering. I found the Mexican vanilla in a small shop in Prince Edward County, in Bloomfield to be exact. The proprietors sell all things Mexican – pottery, jewellery, furniture, art work and vanilla.
Last night I watched Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey. Yes it is about the band Journey. No it has nothing to do with Shakespeare. Although the central figure’s life could be considered dramatically Shakespearean. Arnel Pineda, grew up poor and homeless in Manila. Eventually he joined a band that spent 15 years in Hong Kong singing cover songs. He lived the rock and roll lifestyle – drugs and sex took their toll. When he returned to Manila, he sang lead in a cover band that paid tribute to Journey, Bon Jovi and other long hair bands from the 80s.
Arnel’s number one fan videoed his performances and posted them to a YouTube channel, where Neal Schon from Journey saw them. He was scouting for a new lead singer. The band gave Arnel a chance, and another chapter in the history of rock and roll was written. It was also captured in a documentary – a life affirming documentary to quote Little Sister.