Vanilla sold for roughly $9 a pound in the mid-1990s, but with climate change, widespread drought, and underpaid, disillusioned farmers, prices have risen steadily. Today, vanilla costs nearly $115 per pound. However, this doesn’t mean we should rely on the synthetic stuff; it just means we should use a little bit less, experimenting to see how far a whole pod can go—leftover pods can be dropped into sugar for a flavorful infusion or lightly dried and pulverized for subtler applications. Though seemingly ubiquitous, vanilla is actually complex, sensitive, and precious. And that’s worth celebrating in all its natural glory.