Spice Things Up

Several people have asked me when I was going to post my annual pumpkin spice rant. To tell you the truth, I’ve hesitated for two specific reasons: 1) With everything that 2020 has brought to us — particularly COVID — I’m finding it a bit hard to get too worked up about pumpkin spice; and 2) I’m convinced that the market has spoken, and pumpkin spice is not making its appearance as much as it had for the past several years.

I haven’t seem Pumpkin Spice toothpaste, for example. That, my friends, might have been the one that put me over the top. Toothpaste must be mint, and that’s that. Even bubble gum or watermelon flavor makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. After all, you don’t hear about toothpaste that makes your mouth pumpkin spicy fresh. Or even watermelony fresh. I’m Team Mint Toothpaste all the way.

Nor have I seen a single can of pumpkin spice Spam. You think I’m kidding? And actually, I think it’s the Spam that set me off on my Get Off My Lawn rant last year…..

What’s more, much of my pumpkin spice discontent had little to do with the pumpkin spice. I like pumpkin. I’m a fan of nutmeg and cinnamon and even a LITTLE touch of clove. My issue was that the poor apple — the fruit/veggie of choice in Autumn for much of my life — had been completely set aside in favor of its archenemy, pumpkin spice.

Thus far this year, I’ve made three apple pies, two apple cakes, one apple crisp, and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, not the partridge, since I don’t know what a partridge is and I don’t think it represents Autumn. But the other three are accurate. I love apple things. I haven’t made a single pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, and nary a batch of pumpkin spice muffins.

I’m less worried this year about pumpkin spice than I am the fact that markets have pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and colors. There are even pumpkins that look like they have leprosy Hansen’s Disease. When did plain round orange pumpkins stop being de rigueur?

I want to go back to the days when pumpkins were round and orange and perfect for carving. And I don’t mean that fancy dancy elaborate carving. I’m talking two triangles for eyes, an upside down triangle for the nose, and a mouth with three teeth. Boom. A jack-o-lantern. You could roast the seeds, but why bother when you can buy pumpkin spice popcorn?

To let you know just how much less angry I get about pumpkin spice, I will admit to you that I may — just may — go to Starbucks and buy a slice of pumpkin spice loaf for breakfast tomorrow morning. But I’m going to bake an apple pie for dessert just to play fair.

The Great Pumpkin Marathon

I’m afraid it’s that time of year again, Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s September, and it’s time for my grouchy All-Things-Pumpkin post.

It’s certainly not that I don’t care for pumpkin. In fact, pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies. My sister Jen used to make a pumpkin roll that was absolutely splendid. She hasn’t made it for me for a while. I suspect it might have something to do with the fact that I write a yearly Grouchy-Pumpkin-Post. Starbucks offers pumpkin bread which might rival my all-time favorite lemon bread as my sweet bread of choice on the rare occasions that I enter a Starbucks.

I might actually have bypassed the Grouchy-Pumpkin-Post this year because I haven’t been to Bath and Body Works for quite a while, and that is the place that most astounds me when it comes to offering pumpkin-related choices. Still, I was reminded of the All-Things-Pumpkin mindset when my sister Bec – likely in an effort to get me worked into a tizzy – began sending me photos of items she saw recently at her grocery store in Chandler, AZ. They trickled in, sent as she wandered through the store. First there was this one…..

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Followed by this…..

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Seriously? Pumpkin-flavored Cheerios?

Then this….

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Pumpkin flavored fruit snacks? Doesn’t the All-Things-Pumpkin Nation know that pumpkin is not a fruit?

Then my old friends at Kellogg’s refused to be left out of the pumpkin mix….

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And then, the final blow….

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My Oreo-worshiping husband called for a moment of silence when he saw the denigration of his favorite chocolate cream cookie by a pumpkin spice infiltration.

All I can say is, if I were the Apple Nation or the Pear Nation, I would be asking for a Congressional hearing. Pumpkin spice monopoly.

Speaking of apples and pears, I was wholly unsuccessful this year in gathering my apple and pear crop. Last year I had enough apples that I was able to make apple sauce, apple crisp, and a number of apple cakes and pies. This year my trees didn’t bear much fruit. It happens on occasion. Quite frankly, Bill is thrilled when we recognize that this will be a year of few or no apples since he has to rake up the many, many apples that end up on the grass below the trees.

My pear tree actually did bear fruit. I spent an afternoon picking pears. I then dutifully placed them in a box in the basement for them to ripen, as I had successfully done in the past. And then promptly forgot about them. By time I remembered they were there (since I didn’t have any pear-related grocery items to remind me; just sayin’), they were way beyond ripened and had moved to scary and smelly.

By the way, I recognize that my anti-pumpkin tirade is likely a result of me getting old and grouchy. That’s why this meme, posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, made me laugh out loud. This is me, my friends, this is me….

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