Ok, so what do you guys think about the new pumpkin craze? It seems to have reached new levels of disgusting pumpkin products that fill our grocery aisles from about July 4th until New Year’s Eve. All of the menus now list pumpkin selections at restaurants that range from McDonalds to the “fine dining” specialty type bistros. I started wondering when our crazy love affair with pumpkins started and was surprised at what I learned. Few foods date back as far as 5,500 BC when first discovered in Central America. Those bright orange gourds first made their way to Europe in 1536, and then sailed back over the Atlantic on the Mayflower, landing on our shores in 1620. Holy cow, how long have we been eating these cute little smile-y faced jack-o-lanterns?
Pumpkins soon began gracing the pilgrim’s wood-planked tables as part of their harvest celebrations, made into soup, breads and of course pumpkin pie. They became the very foundation of foods that are still part of our own traditions today, especially the the holiest of all Thanksgiving pies. It’s hard to imagine what our holiday table, bedazzled with the twice-a-year china, linen tablecloths, floral bouquets of gold, yellow, and crimson, would even look like without a warm cinnamon and ginger scented pumpkin pie sitting right in the middle of it. Who cares about the turkey and dressing, just save a big slice of that delicious pie topped with homemade whipped cream for me.
As a new kennel owner, I was amazed at all of the pumpkin related dog treats you could roll out to customers when they dropped off their pooches for long holiday stays. There were pumpkin flavored biscuits, dried pumpkin powder to sprinkle on top of their food to help with tummy problems. Step it up a bit and buy some pumpkin, greek yogurt, apple, and flax seed treats, How about some dried pumpkin jerky? Or canned food that include chunks of pumpkin along with all kinds of other holiday yummy things. Everyone loves pumpkin, even our pooches did.
I totally am into the whole “It’s fall, time to light a fire in our fireplace, hang Halloween decorations, make a big pot of steaming chill, bake some chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, a warm cinnamon scented loaf of pumpkin bread or bake a golden spicy pumpkin pie.” It completely makes sense that someone would figure out there was a lot of money to be made in those pumpkin patches, much more than just picking them in a family filled wagon. Surely there was more to pumpkin than just cookies, bread and pies, but who would ever think of adding pumpkin to coffee? Yuck, yuck yuck. Of course, I am not a coffee lover, so don’t ask me!
Of course you know the answer to that silly question. Back in 2003, the ingenious marketing folks at Starbucks decided it was time to add Pumpkin to their already successfully line up of holiday themed products such as Peppermint Mocha and Eggnog Latte. The Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL as it is commonly known by it’s adoring and widespread following, is so successful that people actually stand in line for this product when its released every year around the first of September. Guess I should choke one down.
The rest of the marketing world was a little slower on the uptake of how to spin a pumpkin into pure gold. As each fall season rolls around, the picture of a plump orange pumpkin starts appearing on what seems like every single package in the grocery store. First there were pumpkin flavored coffee creamers, which was such an easy transition that it doesn’t even count. Then pumpkin flavored coffees…come on, where was the real creativity that Starbucks dreamed up?
Then came the boxed sweet baked goods where you can make “homemade” cookies, muffins, breads, cookie bars, and a few were yummy, but most were terrible. The “pumpkin bar” kept rising between all the marketing firms, and along came Milano pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cereals, pumpkin truffles, pumpkin “Kisses” and pumpkin granola bars. Sweet stuff I can see, but what stupid nut case thought that pumpkin potato chips and pumpkin kale chips would actually taste good or even be purchased? Gag, yuck, icky, gross….what a waste of kale and pumpkin. Some ideas never make it back to the next fall season, but everyone keeps trying to come up with new pumpkin flavored inspirations.
The alcohol producers had been patiently sitting on the sidelines and decided to jump in, feet first. Check out your local liquor store for some pumpkin flavored ales, pumpkin spice martini’s at your favorite bar and if you want the most ridiculous, over-the-top booze…..Pumpkin Vodka and Pumpkin Pie Liqueur. You have got to be kidding me! Who would buy this stuff ever, ever, ever in their life? After grocery shopping yesterday and being bombarded by the most ginormous selection of the grossest looking pumpkin flavored stuff yet, I’m not sure I ever want Pumpkin Pie again!
So I have just one simple request…stop with the stupid Pumpkin flavored everything and let’s have what really is the best Thanksgiving treat. Pecan Pie. Please Starbucks, don’t ruin that for us by inventing a Pecan Pie Latte. Just think what will be showing up in the grocery stores after that.