An abomination that supposedly takes like vanilla beans but instead really has the scent of cheap perfume, or nasty, generic cream soda. Usually made from the chemical vanillin, which despite having the word vanilla in the name, does not actually come from vanilla beans or from anything natural that creates vanilla. It has a chemical structure that has somewhat the smell of vanilla.

Please either use real vanilla beans or get a good vanilla extract instead. You're not saving enough money buying imitation vanilla to make it worth the loss to your soul.

Oddly enough, in the United States, if vanilla extract doesn't have alcohol in it, it is required to be called imitation vanilla. This is because the FDA has rules about what makes a standard recipe for various things, and vanilla requires alcohol in the official recipe. The bureaucrats apparently get all wound up if you call something vanilla extract that isn't USDA-compliant.

How'd I find this bit out? I was bored in an organic food store once and found myself wondering why a place that was so organic would have the atrocity known as imitation vanilla.

What I want to know is, given this apparently silly requirement on vanilla, why can't we get various imitation cheese products to be called by that name?

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