What makes French Vanilla French?

…Or, more to the point, what makes French vanilla different from “regular” vanilla?

I know that French vanilla ice cream is yellow-ish, while “normal” vanilla is more of a creamy white – and the same is true for pudding.

But is that it? Is the addition of yellowishness the sole basis for French claims to their own variety of this flavoring?

Didn’t the first post in the identical thread you posted three days ago answer the question? That thread devolved into French jokes, but not before it seemed to answer the question.
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=219915

Didn’t we do this already?

The recipe hasn’t changed since last week, in case you were checking.

I guess he didn’t think “egg” = “French”
and I see his point.
Don’t Germans and Dutch and Swiss have hens and therefore eggs in every kind of food?
What’s so French about eggs?

What’s so French about dropping sliced potato in hot oil? Don’t even get me started on Belgium waffles or Salisbury Steak. It’s a slightly different recipe. Someone gave it a name to distinguish it.

I realize too late that my previous post comes dangerously close to “that’s just the way it is”, which is rather inappropriate for GQ. I was just pointing out that a lot of things have names which may have been tagged on for obscure reasons to distinguish very similar things. It’s certainly valid to ask when/why an egg-based vanilla ice cream started to be called French vanilla, but that’s not exactly what the OP asked. The OP asked if it was just a yellowish tint and the answer is no, it’s the inclusion of eggs that makes it “French”.

It smells funny, and it hides when the German Chocolate Cake is nearby.

[Sorry, too easy . . .]

And English muffins are from Wales!
Strangely enough, whales can’t stand the things.

Well, actually, when I tried posting the quesiton over the weekend, I kept getting errors when I clicked the submit button, and I never got any e-mail notifications so I had no reason to suspect my thread ever got posted.

Thanks for being so understanding about it, though…

I guess I can’t answer this “new” question with any authority. Maybe someone with a deep knowledge of food history will drop by to answer exactly why it’s French as opposed to something else.

However, like the term German chocolate (chocolate plus coconut), the term French vanilla presumably comes from a dessert originating in the mentioned country. I think the French were the first to popularize custard many centuries ago, from which ice cream later evolved. I can easily see French-style vanilla custard leading to “French vanilla” ice cream, pudding, pastry filling, and inevitably, room deodorizers.

But mind you, that’s just a guess.

My second theory — should you reject the one just given — is that French vanilla is named after a vain and wealthy Cleveland confectioner of the 19th Century named “French”, who, by a quirk of estate law long since repaired, willed that small portions of his puréed corpse be included in a flavor of ice cream, to be sold world-wide. Mr. French, and his mysteriously irresistable flavor, are still with us even today.

But mind you, that’s just a guess.