Intoxicating and evocative, vanilla is so much more than a spice rack staple. It is a flavor that has defined the entire world—and its roots reach deep into the past. With its earliest origins dating back seventy million years, the history of vanilla begins in ancient Mesoamerica and continues to define and enhance today’s traditions and customs. It has been used by nearly every culture as a spice, a perfume, and even a potent aphrodisiac, while renowned figures from Louis XIV to Casanova and Thomas Jefferson have been captivated by its aroma and taste. Featuring recipes, facts, and fables, Vanilla unravels the delightfully rich history, mystery, and essence of a flavor that reconnects us to our own heritage.