The Vanilla In Your Cretan Still
Cured By Indian Way; No Other
Chemist In Laboratory Has Produc
ed An Imitation, But Has Lost
Something Subtle in Flavor.
New York World. • .
Do you scorn those black specks
Jn yaniUa Ice cream? Don't, Phey
ire seeds ol romance of an ancient
jace; they are the seeds of coinage
and adventure of pioneers who re
vived for a modern world, a price
less luxury of old Mexico—vanilla.
Today, m the valleys cut off from
the sea by a stalwart mountain
range vanilla grows as it did at
least fiftten hundred years ago, sti”
cured by a method known to the
once mighty Mayas. a primitive
method for which no equal ha.; I _r.
found. Intrepid explorers and Jesuit
missionaries in the days when Cor
tes subdued proud Montezuma and
the Aztecs, carried transplants of
this vine far afield. The mode. n
man of commerce has hazarded all
to bring this appealing flavor to the
Chemist Strive To Guess Secrets.
The chemist to the laboratory has
tried to guess Its secret. lie 1 as
produced an imitation, but he has
lost something subtle, something as
delicately fine as the veil of ro
mance that hangs over vanilla.
Legend has It that when Cortez
came to Mexico, he was offered by
the hospitable natives along coat,!,
a drink that was chocolate flavored
with vanilla. It, does not seen; that
vanilla was lit the time used as n
flavor In Us own right, but was re
garded. as it still is, as essential to
flavoring chocolate to mellow' the
harshness of the cocoa. These coast
al natl\ es were, the Totonacos, gen
erally considered an outlying tribe
of the vanished Mayen race, u.fer
ior in civilization, but with certain
strong resemblances to them V.
their culture. The descendants of ine
Totonacos, who linger,on In vallr/s
between the hills, a pcrnt 50 miles
from the tea, are still cn agrtcut
tural people like thetr forebear?,
now, as then, the chief cult, tto.
of the vanilla vine.
The name of vanilla, called vain
111a in Spanish, may have oeen ifc
rived from valna, a Spanish -erni
meaning a small scabbard such as
Cortez's men must have had with
them on their adventure, and wh.ch
resembles the long pod of li.e va
The way of the vanilla district
lies beyond Vera Crto. passes nort i
of snow-capped Orizabia and west
ward to an Inland valley. T'"S wav
by land or by sea Is several day,'
journey, long and dangerous and
toilsome. If one goes by water, 'lie.,
is the danger of sudden >r’
fragile sloops, and sharks. If one
goes by land. there is danger cf
swollen streams and treaeheiou
currents, days of riding on horse
back over narrow paths wr.Ta'ied
from the mountainside, with sheer
wall of rock above, sheer wall and
chasm below, days of riding through
Jungle trails dark with ovejduingl.'g
boughs and giant undergrowth, with
Insects underfoot and overhead.
Bridgeless rivers must be crossed
rivers that become swollen and :"o v
far beyond their banks lit the .'ainy
season. During tlie dry season, tord3
are built diagonally across the ris
ers. but when the torrents from the
mountains descend and lire rain has
beeai filling the rivers for weeks, the
lords are not easy to find. Some
times even the sure-footed norses
miss thslr footing and horse and
; rider, struck by the full force of the
current, go hurtling down the river,
rapidly carried to death in the fall3
But If one would travel by sea
there is a fortnightly boat iron
Vera Cruz, a cabtnleas sloop that
carries on its deck pigs or passes i
i gers in indiscriminate fashion. On
the return trip vanilla is given the
only sheltered berth, the hold, lest
the precious cargo be spoiled by sea
water. In a calm sea only the stench
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and grunting of the pigs distracts
one from slumber. But. in the rainy
season, when the northers blow the
only hope of survival for the frail,
craft is to put in to shore. If she
cannot make it. the waves that .ash >
her deck soon capsize her, or the |
bottom drops out. Passengers and i
crew arc left to swim, if they can, in j
But if all goes well on the sea pari
of the voyage, at Tecolutla one re
turns up the Tecolutla river to Cu-j
tierrez Zamora, the loading niacc
for vanilla for its Journey so Vera !
Cruz. From Gutierrez Zamora there !
lies only one wny to Papant'.a, i;e
heart of the vanilla district, * he 1
way of the sure-footed horse rnd
the pack burro.
In the vicinity of Papantia i
grown practically all of the Mexican
vanilla, cultivated by the Toionaeo j
Indians. These people, distingu h j
ed by being always immaculate in !
white, are short-statured people
dark but straight featured, and havr
straight black hair, which tha men i
wear neatly braided. In character
they are thoroughly honest.' They
remember a kindness of years an !
never forget an attempt to cheat
them. Not aggressive, they have re
mained apart from the towns, liv
ing on the outskirts in villages of
their own. The entire family is c m
ploycd on the few acres of land they
possess fecundating by hand the
flowerfng vanilla and gathering the
For vanilla, the fruit of a chim
ing orchid, must have the f Inver
pollenized by hand to secure a good
sized crop. If nature were depended
on alone the crop would be very
small. This orchla grows wild1, need
ing only to have its blossoms pol
lenized in the flowering season. This
work comes In March aud April,
and the Indians can tell by the
number of blossoms they fecundate
what the size of the crop will be.
The beans begin to reach matur
ity about the end of November and
continue until February. When ripe
they are picked from the vines,
where they grow In clusters, am are
sold to curert. At this lima tire
beans are olive green in color and
from five to eight inches long, wita
no trace of the characteristic va
Although the beans from tlw
many parts of the world In wnlch
they are grown are similar In ap
pearance when green, the Davor
brought out by the curing rocess
varies widely. Jesuit missionaries in
the age of exploration carried va
nilla far from its native Mfcxlsan
home to Guadeloupe, hi the West
Indies, to Java, in the East Indies,
to Madagascar, ofr the African
coast, and perhaps to Tahiti, in tne
South Seas. Equally primitive con
ditions of living, travel and murine
prevail In all these places.
The vanilla from Java, the first
Island to which the Jesuits took va
nilla transplants, more nearly ap
proximates the Mexican type than
any other variety, while the South
American type from Guadeloupe is
also closely akin to Its superior
Although Bourbon vanlllc, tnc
most abundant type, which comes
from Madagascar and the Comoro
islands lying to the north, is con
sidered as a single variety, the pro
duct of each island is distinct from,
that of any other. That from Mada
gascar Is nearly the Mexican type,
Even in Mexico there is a marked j
difference in Ihc vanilla from var- j
ious sections, duo to different soil [
and climatic conditions.
Whether the vanilla from Tahiti I
is the transplanted original • a i
distinct type indigenous to Tahiti is I
an open question. It has a different ■.
type of leaf and the crop is semi- i
annual instead of annual. The 'lav- |
or of Tahitian vanilla is poor, and j
while accepted in Europe. it has
never been a favorite in America. !
When vanilla leaves the interior |
of Mexico for New York, it rust l
travelNhe dangerous mountain
paths on the backs of burros and
take the hazardous route on boat#
the tiny slopes. Mexican revolutions
often affect the progress oi the
Mrs. Florence Gibson of Chicago
appealed to the police to arrest 1 rr
husband,'who deserted |jer on heir
wedding day taking all her money.
Tils hand cramping jut as his
concert began In Vienna, He.man
Riegeln, cellist, had to abandon his
part in the program and pay $3,000
Three farmers of Edgecombe
county report a damage of $625
from flood damage to crops and
land this year.
A four-county organization of
Irish potato growers lias been form
ed in Ashe, Alleghany, Wacauga
and Avery counties to. develop the
production of certified seed stock.
Owing to a plague of tramps, of- j
ficials fn Derby, Eng.. arrested |
every one found and made them j
work from 7 a. m. to^noon. Tranffv j
now avoid the town.
Population Of U. S.
Total June 30 Was 12.333. Justice j
Department Reports Shows 1
Volstead Violations Lead.
Washington.—A statement issued
by the department of justice chows
that the population of federal pri
sons Is Increasing rapidly. This is
especially true of those" for youner
people and first offenders.
In the Chillicothe, O.. reformatory
for young men first offenders, there
were 297 prisoners at the beginning
of this year, 1,670 were received. 464
were discharged and 1,2#6 were fn
that institution at the end of the
At the beginning of the last fiscal
year there were 3,323 prisoners in
the Atlanta penitentiary. 2,79i> were
received during the year, and 2.31L
were discharged, leaving at the close
of the year 3.773,
In the Leavenworth penitentiary,
at the beginning of the year, there
were 3,084 prisoners, 2,498 were re- !
ceived and 2,449 were, discharged,
At the McNeil Island penitentiary
there were 933 prisoners at the be
ginning of the year, 658 were re
ceived, 630 discharged, leaving 951
in that Institution on June 30, 1929.1
In the Alderson prison lor women
there were at the beginning of the
year. 174 inmates, 598 were received
during the year, 174 were discharg
ed, leaving 424.
In the Alderson Road camp, an
institution for prisoners shortly to
be eligible for parole or who ate in j
the nature of "trusties,” there were i
employed 151 prisoners at the be- ■
glning of the year, J 87 were raceiv- j
cd, 191 were discharged and 147 j
were thfcre at the close of the year. |
“The total number of prisoners tit j
the dose of the last, fiscal year was
12,333,” the department said. “'O:'
these, 3,414 were in federal prisons
proper and 2,919 111 state prisons
and reformatories. In the St. Eliza
beth asylum for the insane there
ware 143 federal prisoners.
‘ The prisoners incarcerated for
violations of the Volstead law aunt- *
bored 3,589;. the antl-Nftreot’.c law
2,234; the National Automobile
Theft act 1,515; the Postal laws,
903; murder or manslaughter 211
and robbery 148.”
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