From Helayne Rosenblum, Mr. Food Senior Writer
When I was a teenager, I saved my babysitting money and bought a Bichon puppy from a breeder. Unfortunately, my mom was allergic to her, so we had to give her to a family friend. I was heartbroken at the time, and my mom always said to me, “When you get married, you’ll get a dog.”
When I did get married, my husband loved cats and so did our daughter so, for many years, instead of a dog, we had a beautiful orange tabby cat. Finally, four years ago, I decided to treat myself to a puppy for my birthday! While searching online for another Bichon, I found a rare breed of dog that I had to have. I love novelty, and he fit the bill! I had him flown in from across the country. He’s a Coton de Tulear, which means that anyone who asks me what he is responds with, “Huh?”
I discovered that Cotons are the Royal Dog of Madagascar. While I was reading about Cotons, I also did some reading about Madagascar and realized that much of the world’s vanilla comes from there and other islands in the Indian Ocean. It figures that even my dog would have a connection to food, because somehow lots of my life experiences wind up becoming part of the Mr. Food shows I write. So, in honor of my dog who has his roots in Madagascar, I want to share a few Mr. Food recipes that have vanilla in them.
My all-time favorite is none other than a scrumptious but simple Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Love it! Another one I think you’ll like is rich and creamy homemade Vanilla Custard.
And don’t miss our Vanilla Nut Butter. I recently shared great entertaining tips for breakfast and brunch, and this one fits perfectly over pancakes or waffles…give it a try!
I give all these vanilla recipes a thumbs up, and my dog raises his paw for them, too! You know, I bet a lot of you have given your pets sweet names like “Cookie” or “Candy,” so maybe you have some recipes that remind you of your little four-legged friend? If you do, why don’t you visit us on Facebook (Mr_Food) and post a photo and tell us your story! Just like Mr. Food shares his recipes with all of you, our whole team loves your feedback, so please share with us! Meanwhile, every time I add a bit of vanilla to a recipe, I smile because someone really cute is right nearby wagging his tail and making me happy I made him a part of our family!