Nigella Lawson does her best in the segment below from 2006 to a) pad out the episode because they were two minutes short (I’m guessing), b) bolster the cliché of depressingly bland British food, and c) perpetuate the maddening sleb chef myth that putting a vanilla pod in dry sugar makes the whole bowl of sugar taste of vanilla – which I heard yet again last week, from Paul Ainsworth on “Saturday Morning with James Martin”. No one who has ever claimed this has actually tried doing it because it doesn’t work, full stop. Sure, the sugar bowl will smell of vanilla because – surprise! – there’s a vanilla pod in close proximity to your nose, but that’s the sole effect, I’m afraid. The sugar will taste like sugar.
The smarter way: Put some vanilla extract into a small glass bottle with a glass dropper so you can use small amounts. For reference, the half-ounce size is about 3½”/9 cm high and holds about a tablespoon. A small plastic funnel will make it easy to fill.
I doubt all those TV chefs are eager to spout that vanilla sugar nonsense – I’ll wager it’s chuckleheaded producers who cram it into the scripts most of the time.
A much tastier way to make a pile of bread and milk is over here – best made with croissants, of course, but you could substitute regular bread and it would be almost as good. Almost.