The pumpkinification of a nation
September 11, 2014 7:18 PM   Subscribe

 
I believe that there are tricks capitalism has pulled that are worse than creating demand for a pumpkin spice latte.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 7:21 PM on September 11, 2014 [102 favorites]


I had a long discussion about this with a couple of befuddled british friends the other day, who refuse to believe that it doesn't taste like actual pumpkins, but like the spices used to make pumpkin pie.

im right, right, tell me im right
posted by poffin boffin at 7:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


You are right.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:27 PM on September 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


yay
posted by poffin boffin at 7:27 PM on September 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Pumpkin on its own doesn't really taste like much, it's true.
posted by Twain Device at 7:28 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's not supposed to taste like pumpkin. It's called a Pumpkin Spice latte. Not a Pumpkin AND Spice latte. It's supposed to taste like pumpkin spice, not pumpkin.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:28 PM on September 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


I'm immediately angry at this article for citing foodbabe.com, a terrible website dedicated to misinformation and cross-promotion under the guise of advocacy.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:30 PM on September 11, 2014 [39 favorites]


A coffee shop near me makes a latte in the fall with pumpkin purée, the spices we all know and love, and sweetened condensed milk. It is a delight; Starbucks' version is a pale shadow of a thing beside it.
posted by gauche at 7:31 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also, since when was Native American cuisine a trend? Vox pumpkin spice article, I rebuke thee.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:31 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh noooo! more varied seasonal flavors! the horror!

i feel the same way about kale. 3 years ago it was used exclusively as a junk garnish and thrown away, then some marketing genius flipped it into the coolest vegetable on the planet. now you get a tiny bag of kale chips for $5. is that cynical capitalism? eh, maybe. but damn do i enjoy me some kale ceasar chips!

i just want more flavors really. i love pumpkin flavor season. i'd love lychee season or kombu season or tamarind season or taro season too. put it in my beer or muffin or whatever. i dont care if someone is getting money for that. they deserve it. bring me more tasty things!
posted by young_son at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2014 [30 favorites]


Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is primarily popular with women.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2014 [54 favorites]


I maintain that one of the biggest cultural differences between white and black Americans is love of pumpkin vs. sweet potato pie. I feel so disconnected from my friends during the holidays!
posted by girlmightlive at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


"Is there pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte?

No."
posted by weston at 7:34 PM on September 11, 2014


I'm more put off by the upworthification of Vox.

If Ezra Klein can't make it without clickbait, none of us can.
posted by notyou at 7:34 PM on September 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


What an idiotic, bah-humbuggy essay.

I don't drink hot chocolate in the summer, either. I don't drink iced coffee in January. I don't think there's some sort of marketing wizardry telling me not to.
posted by mochapickle at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


I just found out that what we call banana flavoring (think: Runts, Now & Laters) is modeled after a banana that we no longer eat because it got hit by a major banana blight.

Some day this will be true of not just bananas, but pumpkins and, probably, all other fruits and vegetables.

:(
posted by wemayfreeze at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


girlmightlive: I maintain that one of the biggest cultural differences between white and black Americans is love of pumpkin vs. sweet potato pie. I feel so disconnected from my friends during the holidays!

I love all pie. Can't we all just get along?
posted by jferg at 7:36 PM on September 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Taste is taste — think of all the horrible monsters who like eggplant.

That pretty much ruined the whole article for me. Baba ghanoush rocks!

As for spices overwhelming the ostensible main ingredient of the pie in terms of its defining flavor, well, Ritz figured that out 80 some odd years ago.
posted by TedW at 7:37 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is primarily popular with women.

But... but I like pumpkin spice flavoring! And I'm a man, aged 18 to 49! I should have my every whim catered to!
posted by psoas at 7:38 PM on September 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


But... but I like pumpkin spice flavoring! And I'm a man, aged 18 to 49! I should have my every whim catered to!

Exactly!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:40 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't know about capitalism, but this article made me want a pumpkin spice latte and I am a lactose intolerant black coffee drinker. See you later, MetaFilter! Walking to Starbucks now.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:41 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


This "season" is a mirage. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are available year-round.

UH ACTUALLY you DONT need to wait until christmas to dress like santa, which is why it's ACTUALLY EXTREMELY LOGICAL for me to have these cotton balls glued to my ruddy face
posted by Greg Nog at 7:42 PM on September 11, 2014 [58 favorites]


(also most all things pumpkin-flavored are delicious, but what is the deal with p.f. beers lately? they are so no good)
posted by psoas at 7:42 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Old man yells at pumpkin.
posted by codacorolla at 7:44 PM on September 11, 2014 [33 favorites]


I've never liked pumpkin pie or much of anything else pumpkin, but Southern Tier's Pumking beer is the exception. If you don't like other pumpkin beers and can find it, give it a go. It's quite tasty.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:44 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't know how to break it to y'all, but Starbucks isn't the worst thing about capitalism. It just isn't. For instance, their basic cup of drip coffee isn't really that bad. And ummm, there are just way worse cups of coffee out there.

as for the pumpkin spice stuff, I ate too much pumpkin pie once when I was around eight, so all this has no allure for me. You're failing capitalism.
posted by philip-random at 7:45 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


From the link:
Another reason we're seeing a growth in pumpkin popularity has to do with the business of flavor forecasting. Flavor forecasting is a practice where teams at companies like McCormick leverage their product knowledge (spices) to tell restaurants and businesses what types of flavors they think will be a hit in the next season or two.

David Sax, author of The Tastemakers, a book about the industry and complexity of food trends, specifically points to a 2010 flavor forecast by McCormick that spotlighted pumpkin spice as a holiday flavor.

"They're the biggest flavor and spice company in the world. They do [the flavor forecast] as an exercise in PR, and it eventually filters down in sales," he said, explaining that this flavor forecast goes out to big companies to help them decide what products to make and that McCormick benefits from companies wanting to cash in on pumpkin spice.
I knew they did this with colors (what color is in this year, etc.), but I didn't know there was "flavor forecasting".
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:47 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Halloween? In January? How droll
posted by shakespeherian at 7:48 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Would it be the height of hipster-foodie-ism to say that I taught myself how to make pumpkin spice lattes from scratch three years ago?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


myep.
posted by grateful at 7:50 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


i elbowed two giggling teens out of the way this morning to get the last pumpkin scone and i regret nothing
posted by poffin boffin at 7:50 PM on September 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


Also metafilter please I would like seasonally appropriate posts of mild to thrilling outrage every day until november 1st thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:52 PM on September 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Would it be the height of hipster-foodie-ism to say that I taught myself how to make pumpkin spice lattes from scratch three years ago?

It could be, but if we're bragging on our artisanal pumpkinophilia then I must mention the pumpkin (& spice) infused vodka I made a couple of years ago, which started with a bottle of Stoli, some roasted pie-pumpkins, a vanilla bean, and some nutmeg and ended a few days later with a single tear of sublime happiness going down my cheek.
posted by psoas at 7:54 PM on September 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


"in addition, something called "pumpkin sauce," Vani Hari, a nutrition advocate and blogger, investigated and reported."

Cite Food Babe, automatically lose. Calling Vani Hari a "nutrition advocate" is like calling Gene Ray a "timekeeping advocate". She's a total and complete nutcase, and/or a cynical shill for various supplements and organic food products, which she pushes by claiming that all sorts of normal food stuff is "toxic", "deadly", "chemicals", etc. She's an orthorexia nervosa advocate.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:55 PM on September 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


Pumpkinification?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:56 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's pumpkin spice discussion time, which means it's time for me to post my favorite Pumpkin Season video!
posted by schroedinger at 7:57 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


What tastes delicious is fall. No more eating around the empty vitamins in all those salads, it's time for warm spices and casseroles and hearty soups. I love pumpkin spice lattes because it means leafapocolypse is only weeks away and also because it's fucking delicious. Leinenkugel has a pumpkin harvest Shandy and it tastes like dessert beer. God I love this time of year.
posted by Kimberly at 7:57 PM on September 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


if that is not the guy in the black leotard with the pumpkin on his head i must challenge you to a fight to the death
posted by poffin boffin at 7:59 PM on September 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


welp
posted by poffin boffin at 7:59 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


i made this last year and it ruled so i'll probably make it again
Pumpkin Chocolate Milk Stout
posted by Greg Nog at 8:01 PM on September 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


This "season" is a mirage. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are available year-round.

Oh, if someone can tell me where to get egg nog in July, I'll give them a giant hug. And I don't mean the canned, room-temperature Borden brand stuff they sell year-round in Puerto Rico. That stuff tastes totally different.

(Also somewhat meta-eponysterical given who else responded to this statement)
posted by TheCowGod at 8:02 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I believe this article failed to account for the Harry Potter factor.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:03 PM on September 11, 2014


Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is primarily popular with women.

Is this really a thing? It's certainly not stopping the beer industry from going all in with it. Seconding that Southern Tier Pumking.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:06 PM on September 11, 2014


I like pumpkin spices in appropriate places (pie, mostly). Coffee should taste like coffee. Ice cream should also taste like coffee. I am looking forward to Straus Creamery's egg nog, so there's that.
posted by rtha at 8:09 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, if someone can tell me where to get egg nog in July, I'll give them a giant hug.

The prompt disappearance of egg nog from stores on December 26th was why I learned to make it myself.

I allow myself one pumpkin spice latte in October and one between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am not ashamed.
posted by deanc at 8:10 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's PUMPKININNY!


Actually, I'll have to turn in some sort of card, I'm sure, as I loathe both pumpkin and sweet potato pie.
posted by droplet at 8:13 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have homemade eggnog in my fridge RIGHT NOW! It's been aging 10 months!
posted by vespabelle at 8:14 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


The greatest trick capitalism ever pulled was making you want a pumpkin spice latte.

I don't know man, bottled water is a pretty successful scam here in the US where public water systems are commonplace and safe. And bottled water is HUGE.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:14 PM on September 11, 2014 [29 favorites]


Vanilla macchiato is where it's at (hot).

But I do have at least on PSL in the small size - that stuff is sweet.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:14 PM on September 11, 2014


oh noooo! more varied seasonal flavors! the horror!

Right? I half expect the next article to rant about how cinamon hearts and Cadbury eggs and candy canes could totally be available all year if only the capitalists would stop trying to manipulate us.
posted by Hoopo at 8:16 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Would it be the height of hipster-foodie-ism to say that I taught myself how to make pumpkin spice lattes from scratch three years ago?

My office has an espresso machine and flavored syrups, including pumpkin spice year round. I take perverse delight in making myself pumpkin spice lattes in May.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:17 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have a non-Vox version of this?
posted by Joe Chip at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fun activity: Do a find/replace with Spice and Pumpkin Spice Latte for the Dune series.
posted by hellojed at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [31 favorites]


Man, whatever. This weekend I'm going to be slapping together a batch of these little babies!
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:20 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


"since when was Native American cuisine a trend?"

In the US? I think the trend caught on around 1621.

(No but srsly look at how many Thanksgiving foods are New World foods: turkey, mashed potato, sweet potato, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cranberries ...)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:21 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I just always assumed that it was a "pumpkin and spice" latte, and that sounded so disgusting I never tried it.

But a spices-associated-with-pumpkin - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice - latte reminds me of the spiced coffees I had in the Kurdish areas of Turkey. They were great.

I doubt Starbucks even approaches their level, but at least now I get the idea.
posted by kanewai at 8:23 PM on September 11, 2014


I think the local Stewart's shop carries eggnog year round.
posted by mikelieman at 8:26 PM on September 11, 2014


Vanilla macchiato is where it's at (hot).

THE FACT THAT STARBUCKS CALLS CERTAIN LATTES MACCHIATOS MAKES ME FAR MORE ANGRY THAN IT RATIONALLY SHOULD
posted by shakespeherian at 8:27 PM on September 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Capitalism, schmapitalism ... If Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha became super best friends, stole Lao Tzu's water buffalo, rose it to my house, and offered me the pumpkin spice latte of perfect enlightenment, I still would not drink it because, yo, it just SOUNDS gross.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:29 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


This "season" is a mirage. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are available year-round.

I think this article is dumb. I mean, yeah, duh they're available all year round. I mean, raspberries are available all year round, but there's something so right about eating raspberries during raspberry season, or sweet corn during sweet corn season, and on and on. I get that we've technologied our way out of actual produce and spice seasons, but I don't mind the skeumorphs - it gives the year all those things that mark time and allow you to look forward to things.

It doesn't hurt that I just love the pumpkin stuff, and of course I'm much more cynical about other seasonal things like peeps. But seriously the pumpkin stuff - pumpkin spice beer, pumpkin whiskey. Goddamn. I even quite like the Starbucks PSL but only for about the first half of a small one. When I drink the whole thing I get a bit of the 'omg what have I done' feeling.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Pretty sure this is still the greatest trick capitalism ever pulled.
posted by Perko at 8:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Pumpkinification?

In my world "turning into a pumpkin" is an expression for getting too tired to carry on with social engagement. One says "I'm turning into a pumpkin" (or "I'm gourdifying" or "What's that Greek word that means turning into a pumpkin? Ap?Om?...palocytosis?"), as a prelude to taking one's leave, supposedly to go to bed.
posted by straight at 8:43 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is primarily popular with women.

In all fairness, she was even less popular than Posh Spice or Sporty Spice.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:51 PM on September 11, 2014 [23 favorites]


I just moved to Austin from New Jersey, and I'm planning on doing everything possible to convince myself that its fall. Fall is great, awesome even. I'm okay purchasing things that acknowledge it. That includes consuming many many many pumpkin items. Also, @Greg_Nog, I just picked up ingredients today to do something very similar. Something between your recipe and Southern Tier's Warlock (if all goes well).
posted by lownote at 8:52 PM on September 11, 2014


Oh, if someone can tell me where to get egg nog in July, I'll give them a giant hug. And I don't mean the canned, room-temperature Borden brand stuff they sell year-round in Puerto Rico. That stuff tastes totally different.

My mom made the best egg nog out of eggs and milk and spices, and we had it all year round as a special treat - damn, I have no idea what her recipe was, and I don't know if she remembers!
posted by jb at 8:57 PM on September 11, 2014


(No but srsly look at how many Thanksgiving foods are New World foods: turkey, mashed potato, sweet potato, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cranberries ...)

So my family always also enjoyed plain wild rice on Thanksgiving. Always has as long as I've been alive. It's indelibly burned into my brain as part of the Thanksgiving meal.

Imagine my surprise the first year I spent with my college girlfriend's family.

(whispering) "Where is the wild rice?"
(her) "The what?"
posted by unixrat at 9:01 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well Walgreens has their Halloween candy out, so we could all rail at that instead.
posted by GuyZero at 9:15 PM on September 11, 2014


Living in an eggnog-less country for seven years means I had to learn how to make it myself and it's super easy. Basically egg yolks, cream, powdered sugar and spices. Amazingly delicious.

I have a crushing addiction to eggnog. To the extent that during eggnog season I've been known to forgo most of my meals for a day so I can drink lots of eggnog instead. I just love it.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:17 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well Walgreens has their Halloween candy out, so we could all rail at that instead.

Pfft, people want to complain just because Halloween's winning.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


lownote, just keep reminding yourself; you will never ever have to shovel snow as long as you live there.

I am sorry to say that our fall leaves are mostly "meh" or brown, though there are a few parts of the highways where native grasses have been planted which turn pretty crimson/gold/orange colors.
posted by emjaybee at 9:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also: 14 eggnog recipes

I'm not a coffee drinker, so have never had a pumpkin spice latte, despite otherwise being a pumpkin everything kind of person. So I always feel like I'm kind of missing out when the PSLs are introduced every September.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


In my world "turning into a pumpkin" is an expression for getting too tired to carry on with social engagement. One says "I'm turning into a pumpkin"

The Disney version of "Cinderella." Yes, it has that much pull. And yes, I've used that exact phrase to mean exactly that in the last week.

Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is primarily popular with women.

I am all in favor of Pumpkin Spices so long as I don't have to deal with the Pumpkin. Put those same spices in Vortlimpa, and you better get out of the way because I will eat you to eat that. The typical pumpkin spice latte is a bunch of sugar with some flavors, and, well, it's a bit much, but if you like it, drink the fuck out of it.

Seriously. Put me in front of an infinite source of Ted Drewe's Terra Mizzou frozen custard, and I will die in about 5 weeks weighing about 600 pounds, but I will die happy. If an infinite source of pumpkin spice latte will result in the same with you, well, awesome. LOVE IT LIKE A ROCK.

If you like it, rock it. If someone gives you shit about it, punch them, then rock it. Because NOM.

Fuck, I'm thinking about the Chicago Mefites I follow on twitter, and they're all pretty much "I like this, I'm rocking it, if you don't like it, fuck you and more for me."

That's why Chicago Mefites rocks.
TINCC.
posted by eriko at 9:25 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Huh. Every year I hear people talking about pumpkin spice lattes (okay, I admit it, these are people on the internet) and I think ew, that sounds terrible. It dawned on me halfway through this thread that a PSL is a hot thing, not, as I always pictured, an orangey frappucino thing with whipped cream. I don't want a hot PSL either. It's still so hot here that now I kinda want to try the imaginary cold one.
posted by artychoke at 9:30 PM on September 11, 2014


pumkin dance
posted by poffin boffin at 9:33 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not to be boringly pedantic, but apocolocyntosis actually means "gourdification," not "pumpkinification" (as pumpkins originated in Mexico around 7000 BC, and the Romans wouldn't have known about them). Gotta love the Columbian exchange!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 9:48 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the greatest trick capitalism ever pulled was the diamond engagement ring.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:49 PM on September 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


I believe it's a sin to pump your kin.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:50 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you think pumpkins on their own don't have much flavor, I'd like to suggest that you've been eating the wrong ones. Also that you are a bad person. Witness the joy that is the Jarrahdale pumpkin. If you've ever used one of these as mere decoration then there is a seat in the 8th Circle of, if not Hell, then at least Heck waiting for you.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:55 PM on September 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Fuck all that, it's soon time for Egg Nog!!!
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:57 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Egg Nog? We haven't snarked on turkey yet.

Stuffing is coming soon! Right around the bend.
posted by notyou at 10:05 PM on September 11, 2014


I'm not a coffee drinker, so have never had a pumpkin spice latte, despite otherwise being a pumpkin everything kind of person. So I always feel like I'm kind of missing out when the PSLs are introduced every September.

They will make you a pumpkin spice creme. It's a pumpkin spice latte without the espresso.

It dawned on me halfway through this thread that a PSL is a hot thing, not, as I always pictured, an orangey frappucino thing with whipped cream. I don't want a hot PSL either. It's still so hot here that now I kinda want to try the imaginary cold one.

They will make that for you, too. Either an iced pumpkin spice latte, or a pumpkin spice cream frappaccino (with or without coffee). The first is just espresso, pumpkin spice sauce & milk iced, the second is coffee, milk, pumpkin spice sauce, ice & sugar blended.

Basically, they will make anything you want with what ingredients they have. If you want a pumpkin spice banana smoothie, they'll do that. (In case you're wondering, that would be a chocolate smoothie minus the chocolate, plus pumpkin spice sauce).
posted by jb at 10:06 PM on September 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


the fever around pumpkin spice is something that surprises me. it's not as good as a mocha coconut frappaccino (my one blended ice weakness - and the only Starbucks thing I like almost much as a good plain coffee).

but the greatest trick capitalism ever played was convincing workers that unions were bad for them.
posted by jb at 10:09 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not a coffee drinker, so have never had a pumpkin spice latte, despite otherwise being a pumpkin everything kind of person. So I always feel like I'm kind of missing out when the PSLs are introduced every September.

Ask for a chai tea latte with a one pump of the pumpkin spice syrup. The sugar crash a couple of hours later is worth it.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:10 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hyperbole aside, while it's true that changing flavors throughout the year are more fun than Pareto-efficient standard supermarket produce selection v2.44, it is kind of an alienating bummer for some of us to reflect on the extent to which certain manifestations of that principle are cynical manipulations of chemistry and PR rather than comfortingly long-lived traditions shaped by the weather, stage in the harvest cycle, etc. of the time of year in question. And of course many people find it less fulfilling to obtain a seasonal food item in exchange for money from someone who doesn't give a crap about you than it is to come together with friends and loved ones to make/share food, an act of communal goodwill rather than mere fulfilment of individual desire.

I wouldn't say that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the worst thing capitalism ever did to humanity, but it is certainly valid to offer it as a symbol of the ways in which capitalism can target and coopt very deep-rooted human propensities for its own ends.
posted by No-sword at 10:33 PM on September 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


Is this pumpkin a sin?
I don't care. It's such a lovely sin.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:10 PM on September 11, 2014


I enjoy a good pumpkin pie. Somehow in my family I became "the one who likes pumpkin pie" and every time I have a birthday or am home for the holidays or something they make a pumpkin pie because apparently I love pumpkin pie above all else according to family lore. They make a special point to bake one for me if I'm there at Christmas or whatever, but I'm not really much of a sweets person so I mostly take a small sliver and say thanks and they feel happy because they provided the thing they know "I like". (If you can't tell by this point, my family is mostly southern US. Food shows our feelings).

But I wouldn't think to eat anything that wasn't pie that tasted like pie. I accidentally ended up with a pumpkin coffee when someone ordered for everyone at work and it was kinda unsettling. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't how I was used to those flavors. Making not pie-things taste like pie doesn't make me want similar-to-pie thing more. It just makes me sad and waiting for the time I'll get actual pie. Despite the fact that I'm pretty indifferent to the actual pie.
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Of all the destructive, planet destroying, anti-human poisoned-meme bullshit of capitalism, sitting in a comfy chair at the local sbux with a PSL is actually pretty pleasant.
posted by MillMan at 11:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I mean fuck, the next thing you're going to tell me is a shamrock shake isn't made out of shamrocks.
posted by phaedon at 11:28 PM on September 11, 2014 [21 favorites]


The hands-down monarch of all seasonal beverages is, in my opinion, this drink the bar near my house has that tastes like liquid apple pie and also gets you drunk. But the only pumpkin thing I really love is my mom's pumpkin bread.
posted by NoraReed at 11:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had a long discussion about this with a couple of befuddled british friends the other day, who refuse to believe that it doesn't taste like actual pumpkins,

I've had that exact conversation with a half dozen European friends. Apparently Starbucks has given an entire generation the impression that north American pumpkins taste like cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper right out of the field.
posted by fshgrl at 12:23 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ha. PSLs came to the UK last year officially (not till October though), and I eagerly went to my local Starbucks to get one. Apparently I was the first person to order one, three days after they'd been officially released (I lived in a city that doesn't get many American ex-pats or tourists) and the barista was very curious what it tasted like. "Is it... like... vegetables?"

Now I'm in Australia (where they call all squashes "pumpkin", incidentally) and in addition to there only being a small handful of Starbucks in downtown Sydney -- Australia and the US have polar opposite coffee preferences and Starbucks basically fails here with everyone but tourists -- they certainly don't carry pumpkin spice lattes. (Plus, it's spring now) This makes the first year in at least a decade I haven't gotten my PSL fix. I am sad.

In other news, my favorite fall pumpkin recipe (found thanks to an AskMe years ago). It's just... omg. Add some bacon (not a ton) for a bit of extra flavor.
posted by olinerd at 12:26 AM on September 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


I love the ending of this: "Taste is taste — think of all the horrible monsters who like eggplant. There are worse things in this life than liking a PSL (e.g. murder)."

But that said: never cared for pumpkin much, don't really get the appeal of this. It's...okay, I guess?
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:51 AM on September 12, 2014


I had a long discussion about this with a couple of befuddled british friends the other day, who refuse to believe that it doesn't taste like actual pumpkins

Remember, in Britain we don't usually eat pumpkins, or if we do, not as part of a tradition that informs what kind of dish we should make from them. Lots of us only have the vaguest idea what they taste like. Pumpkin Spice is not a thing here and as a phrase it makes no sense to us.

Thus "Pumpkin Spice Latte" parses to me as Pumpkin (Spice Latte) and I conclude that this spice latte, whatever that is, must have pumpkin in it. This makes me assume that pumpkins are supposed to taste of something that would be pleasant in a latte.
posted by emilyw at 2:53 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've never had a PSL, but this thread inspired me to break out my pumpkin spice tea which totally isn't harry potter-themed or anything after stashing it away for the summer.
posted by bettafish at 3:14 AM on September 12, 2014


Also, one of the things I miss most about living in the US is pumpkin flavored ice cream. That you can buy in the grocery store and everything! There are a couple of fancy-schmacy gelato places in town now and one of them claimed to occasionally have "citrouille" in their winter rotation, but it's a matter of timing my visit right.
posted by bettafish at 3:17 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well I guess I will redeem my old man under a rock points now: I had no idea pumpkin spice was a thing, at all, didn't know this was a drink at Starbuck's, etc.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:56 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fun activity: Do a find/replace with Spice and Pumpkin Spice Latte for the Dune series.

Fun activity 2: go into Starbucks in full Guild Navigator costume and ask for their Geriatric Spice Melange Latte.
posted by iotic at 4:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


Coffee should taste like coffee. Ice cream should also taste like coffee.

Quoted for the goddamned truth.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:09 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Pumpkin is the official ingredient of the Halloween Season (which begins the day after Labor Day). This is the time to start putting pumpkin in everything: pie, cake, bread, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, soup, stew, beer; you name it. If you don't feel like you've half-transformed into a jack-o'-lantern by Halloween Eve, you're doing it wrong.

But "pumpkin spice"? A grotesque artificial flavor that makes a mockery of everything the holiday stands for. A cynical cash-in. If something has the word "pumpkin" in its name, inspect the label closely to ensure you're not being cheated of the gourd that is your birthright.

A pox on Starbucks, and a pox on McCormick. May the Great Pumpkin pass you by.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:20 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I had a long discussion about this with a couple of befuddled british friends the other day, who refuse to believe that it doesn't taste like actual pumpkins, but like the spices used to make pumpkin pie.

I think this is because in Britain most pumpkin flesh that doesn't stay in pumpkins goes in the bin. Pumpkins are mostly for decoration and not really for cooking. So pumpkin spice is not really a thing.
posted by biffa at 4:39 AM on September 12, 2014


If you guys are looking for good eggnog recipes, I suggest making the Rockefeller Microbiology eggnog now; you let it sit for a month or so, and it becomes totally delicious, though it's also boozy as hell.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:48 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I am also leery of saccharine-sweet flavored coffee products, but I don't think pumpkin spice is an especially terrible offender. It's another one of the flavors that I lump into the "someone once told me this flavor represented {actual thing}, and even though it in no way resembles it, I still like it" category. Like grape soda or strawberry jello. Actual pumpkin tastes like squash. Because it's squash.
posted by Mayor West at 5:01 AM on September 12, 2014


i'd love lychee season
If you go to the Asian supermarket (and if you're willing to settle for jellies if fresh is unavailable), every season is lychee season. :-)
posted by roystgnr at 5:01 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


So...US Americans are the only peoples to make pie (or bread or muffins or ice cream) out of pumpkin? Is that what I'm hearing?

I am so sad for the rest of the world right now.
posted by cooker girl at 5:03 AM on September 12, 2014


I would like seasonally appropriate posts of mild to thrilling outrage every day until november 1st
Should be easy enough.

What Pumpkin Spice Lattes Taught Me About the Evils of Capitalism is just one more instantiation of a very big class.
posted by roystgnr at 5:06 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


for those who don't want to drink the thing, let me offer a piece of advice. Spill it all over yourself. You'll be smelling like autumn until you take the clothing off and bathe. And then your laundry hamper will smell like autumn until a) you do the laundry or b) the milk ages and molders until it's sour milk with Odd Chemicals smell.

Ask me how I know.
posted by angrycat at 5:06 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


All this is is the rest of the country catching up to the Circleville, Ohio Pumpkin Festival.

Yes, pumpkin pie (the biggest in the world!), but also pumpkin pizza (both sweet and savory versions), pumpkin sloppy joes, pumpkin hamburgers, pumpkin soda, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin ice cream...

(And, afterwards, all of the pumpkin beer. But especially Pumpking. 8.6%, so drink carefully.)
posted by damayanti at 5:08 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


So...US Americans are the only peoples to make pie (or bread or muffins or ice cream) out of pumpkin? Is that what I'm hearing?

No, Canadians do as well. Pumpkins and other gourds were a very important part of native farming in central Canada, as with parts of the US. I can imagine that gourds are also important in central and South America.

But, yes, pumpkin pie is truly American in a way that apple pie (invented in Europe) just isn't.
posted by jb at 5:10 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


for those who don't want to drink the thing, let me offer a piece of advice. Spill it all over yourself. You'll be smelling like autumn until you take the clothing off and bathe. And then your laundry hamper will smell like autumn until a) you do the laundry or b) the milk ages and molders until it's sour milk with Odd Chemicals smell.

Speaking of things that aren't supposed to smell like pumpkin spice, how's your cat?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:13 AM on September 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is popular.

Fixed that for you.
posted by clarknova at 5:20 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


So...US Americans are the only peoples to make pie (or bread or muffins or ice cream) out of pumpkin? Is that what I'm hearing?

I have eaten, and liked, pumpkin bread, and other items which are essentially the same pumpkin-and-bread combo (pumpkin on pizza, pumpkin ravioli etc are reasonably common here in Oz).

I find the thought of pumpkin ice-cream a little distressing, though. I'd be willing to try a savoury pumpkin pie, but the idea of pumpkin as a dessert just seems so foreign to me.
posted by lwb at 5:22 AM on September 12, 2014


US Americans are the only peoples to make pie (or bread or muffins or ice cream) out of pumpkin?

You only eat those things in America because they are some kind of autumnal icon of a bucolic American farming existence, in imagined ages gone by, when people were connected to the seasons and had more sunsets and fewer supermarket chiller cabinets.

Pumpkins aren't native here in GB, so we don't have this association; we just think they are better for making lanterns than the turnips we used to use. We are not under the illusion that pumpkins have special autumnal magic or that they taste good.
posted by emilyw at 5:23 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin beer are both pretty underwhelming, but to each their own. I think we can all agree that this is a bridge too far.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 5:29 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Speaking of things that aren't supposed to smell like pumpkin spice, how's your cat?

The vet was able to use a special comb to comb out the pumpkin spice wax! But as wax cat likes to sleep around and sometimes on my head, I had a night or two of drifting off to sleep in a cloud of pumpkin spice wax cat. Thank you for asking!
posted by angrycat at 5:31 AM on September 12, 2014 [27 favorites]


I know well of the hype/excitement surroung the PSL, but I've never had one. We got some Starbucks coupons in the post and one was to get a PSL for, like, super cheap. So I thought, "What the hell, I'll try something for little money," but learned that the infamous PSL is not vegan, not even if you swap soy milk for regular milk. (The mix they use contains dairy or some such.)

Oh well! Anyone want these coupons?
posted by Kitteh at 5:38 AM on September 12, 2014


PSL has its own Tumblr. Tell me again how this can possible by all marketing? I mean, it's a Tumblr. For a latte. Clearly, econ and marketing has nothing to do with it.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:41 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


US Americans are the only peoples to make pie (or bread or muffins or ice cream) out of pumpkin?

When I lived in the UK, my wife and I invited some of our friends over for a traditional Canadian thanksgiving dinner. We had 2 Irish families and 1 UK family over.

I decided that I would make a pumpkin pie for the occasion, partly to show off North American tradition and partly because I had a huge craving for the taste. I dutifully trudged down to Covent Garden and secured the last can of pumpkin puree in the Canada Shop. I brought this treasure home on the tube, imagining how good it was going to taste and how impressed our guests would be.

The day of the feast day I prepared the pie. Even went so far as to make my own pastry dough for it. It was a masterpiece and the kitchen smelled fantastic. Dinner was a hit, the guests were stuffed from all the food. Finally it was time for the desserts.

My wife brought out her bavarian apple torte and I brought out the pie. I gleefully presented it to our guests, anticipating their murmurs of approval. I put the pie on the table and stepped back waiting for the accolades. Silence. Looks of consternation and horror from our guests. After what seemed like an eternity one of the Irish ladies exclaimed "Are you taking the piss Shawn?"

Not one of them tried a piece of the pie that day, and while I was slightly disappointed that they didn't partake I did not begrudge them their reaction. For someone not used to eating pumpkin the look can be a bit off putting.

The best thing was that I got to enjoy pretty much the whole pie over the next couple of days.
posted by smcniven at 5:43 AM on September 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


You can take the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale from my cold, dead hands.

(For those of you in Schlafly's range, stock up on the 2014. We did a vertical going back to 2010, and the 2014 is almost as good, unaged, as the 2010.)
posted by notsnot at 5:59 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


"since when was Native American cuisine a trend?"

Well even Minneapolis has the Sioux Chef now so it must be a thing. As to ow large it is through the entire country I can't say but it is a thing.

As to Pumpkin spiced latte's being just a women's thing? I am drinking one right now in the mechanics shop and it keeps getting in my beard. So there may be a bit of flex on that one.

PS if you like pumpkin spiced ales, Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee makes an excellent one.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 6:00 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pumpkins aren't native here in GB, so we don't have this association; we just think they are better for making lanterns than the turnips we used to use. We are not under the illusion that pumpkins [...] taste good.

It's not an illusion, your upbringing has lied to you. TAKE THE ORANGE PILL.
posted by psoas at 6:02 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I unashamedly love ALL THINGS pumpkin or pumpkin spice! You could offer me the most disgusting food in the world and if you were also all, "and it's pumpkin-flavored roasted ass" I'd be unable to refuse at least a spoonful. I also love squashes and eggplant, too.

HOWEVER, I get my grumpy fist-shaking on about the slow creep of PSL season. It's not supposed to start until October (when we all know that decorative gourd season really begins). I decided that I shall drink no PSL until mid-October (mostly so I limit the amount of needless sugar/calories I'll ingest during PSL season) and the temptation at Starbucks yesterday was terrible.
posted by TwoStride at 6:04 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


As far as pumpkin outside of North America: I had pumpkin curries year round in New Zealand. I wish I could find more of those in the US!
posted by troika at 6:05 AM on September 12, 2014


I'm afraid to put this on Facebook because I will get yelled at. But I do not care for pumpkin spice lattes. It seems weird that coffee would taste like pumpkin (though I do like vanilla coffee). I think pumpkin spice lattes taste like chemicals. I love pumpkin - pie, cookies, empanadas, curry. But not pumpkin spice lattes.

I'll show myself out now.
posted by kat518 at 6:06 AM on September 12, 2014


Not to worry, kat518, hating pumpkin spice is A Thing now. A whoooole bunch of people forwarded the "Natt-O-Lantern" to pumpkin-beer-loving me with a derisive snort only to be disappointed when I pointed out that it was only the packaging, not actually pumpkin spice Natty Light.
posted by troika at 6:11 AM on September 12, 2014


2 more points.

First the article completely misses the rise in gardening and urban agriculture that has occurred since 2001 . The reason that is important is that pumpkins are one of the easier crops to grow and when grown produce a ton of food. This results in food bloggers, farmers market types and farm to table restaurants having access to more and diverse pumpkins than previously were available. These folks tend to be taste makers and drivers in the food space so surprise surprise you get pumpkin everything 3 years later.

and my second point is that if you like something go ahead and eat it and if you don't like something someone else is eating don't eat it, but don't tell other people what they should and shouldn't like. That makes you an asshole.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 6:17 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


troika, if there's an Afghan restaurant near you they often have an amazing baked pumpkin dish that I still remember my first taste of (at the Helmand in San Francisco), over a decade later.
posted by psoas at 6:19 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


As to Pumpkin spiced latte's being just a women's thing? I am drinking one right now in the mechanics shop and it keeps getting in my beard.

I wonder if that "pumpkin spice lattes are a woman thing" isn't a misconception that paradoxically both narrows and widens a different stereotype I've heard?

Meaning - I've heard the stereotype that the super-flavored, sweet frothy coffee things in general are sort of meant to cater to teenage girls, as sort of "starter coffee". You know? It's got so much flavor and sweet and cream and crap that it's practically a milkshake. One of my old bosses was once grumbling that his fourteen-year-old daughter was wanting to try coffee, but she was looking at the stuff at Starbucks, and he was going to take her to a nasty diner and get her a cup of their coffee, black and no sugar, and tell her "if you can get through this, then you're ready for coffee. Until then, no."

So if you narrow "flavored coffee drinks" down to "pumpkin spice latte", and expand "teenage girls" to "women", I can see how that stereotype came into being.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Geriatric Spice Melange Latte

Starbucks actually had a seasonal hot chocolate that they advertised as "made with spice melange".
posted by vogon_poet at 6:30 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is primarily popular with women.

What.

The one person on my FB feed who was excited for PSL Season was a man. When I posted that I'd had my one token PSL for the year and I still believe masala chai is 10 times better, almost everyone who liked or commented with support was a woman.


How about bacon? For whatever reason, it seems culturally associated with masculinity. But are people not at least as sick of bacon-everything than pumpkin spice everything? I know I am. At least pumpkin spice is generally pleasant, if overhyped. I really don't see the appeal of adding greasy salt to a milkshake or a chocolate bar though.

Pumpkin spice generally belongs in pumpkin pie. Bacon generally belongs with eggs or in a BLT.
posted by Foosnark at 6:36 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Number of times the word "pumpkin" appears in this thread up until now: 197
Approximate instance at which it became a pair of nonsense syllables for me: 59

Decades ago I was working in a youth hostel and to introduce guests to the North American holiday of Hallowe'en (unfamiliar to many then) we had a pumpkin carving contest for any customers who cared to plunge their hands into the seedy orange guts.

There were signs up for the latter half of October promoting this, and I recall a French couple asked me what it was all about, this sign with a hand-drawn jack-o'-lantern. I began to respond with my then very rusty command of the language, and as I worked my way towards it in graceless French, I suddenly found myself panicking: "Wait, what is the French word for 'pumpkin'? Come to think of it, how does one say 'carving'? Or 'contest'?"

Ultimately I ended up inviting them to take place in a squash chiseling competition. They went away from the discussion even less enlightened than they had come into it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:43 AM on September 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


It's probably helpful to think of the PSL (and all Starbucks coffee based products) not as a cup of coffee, but rather as a dessert beverage. Like a milkshake, or a snowball. It's something you have once a month when you want something sweet, not something you should be drinking every day before work.
posted by codacorolla at 6:48 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pumpkin Spice flavor is yet another thing that we get to dismiss and or declare terrible because it is primarily popular with women.

OK, look, seriously, it is my sincere hope that in my words and my actions, the way I spend my time and money, the causes I support, the fights I join, the way I treat those around me and the way I teach my children to treat those around them, I am, in all respects, as committed and dedicated a feminist as it is possible for me to be. I will stumble, and when I do I hope that I am gracious in accepting correction. I make every effort to keep myself informed and examine the changing faces of feminist thought from every angle. I am 47 and still trying, every day, to learn and grow as a feminist and ally to women.

So please accept, Metafilter, that I mean it with the greatest respect to you as a community that has given the above comment many favorites when I say this:

PSL is not a feminist issue.
posted by The Bellman at 6:49 AM on September 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


I find myself easily drawn into hype but I doubt that my experience will match this. So I think I would rather save myself the disappointment
posted by Gor-ella at 6:52 AM on September 12, 2014


Yeah... I still cannot care. Delicious.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 6:54 AM on September 12, 2014


Pumpkin is gross. Pumpkin spice lattes are...okay I guess. Fresh roasted pumpkin seeds are amazing.

(cept when you eat too many and it's the next morning)
posted by Bacon Bit at 6:57 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I noticed the pumpkin spice scene gaining ground around 2009. That it has been a thing since 2003 comes as a total surprise. And I love pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie and all manner of squash (prepared plain with just a little olive oil or sweet with brown sugar/spices). But I've yet to drink anything pumpkin spiced. And I feel like that is all about to change. Now that it's 'fall' again and after over ten years of steady 'pumpkinification' (and having just read this post) it all feels like a foregone conclusion: Any day now I'll be drinking something pumpkin spiced. I don't know what that will be but I already know exactly how it will taste – so, I'm psyched!
posted by marimeko at 7:03 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


What pumpkin?
posted by Drexen at 7:14 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think the pumpkin spice latte backlash has a strong misogynistic element. When I google 'pumpkin spice latte ' the first suggestion is 'pumpkin spice latte meme' and the sixth is 'pumpkin spice latte white girl'.

It was, maybe still is, a weird trend on French Girls to draw young white women suffering from a hysterical love for pumpkin spice lattes. if I had a dollar for every time a young white woman was drawn to be making out with or crying over a pumpkin spice latte on French Girls, I'd be able to buy many pumpkin spice lattes.
posted by wrabbit at 7:17 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am having a pumpkin spice chai and eating a pumpkin muffin and no one can stop me, I will do this until it is time for PEPPERMINT STICK HOT CHOCOLATE.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:32 AM on September 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't know whether caraway and bitter greens really defined the year 2010, but that McCormick Flavor Forecast is surprisingly reasonable compared to this kind of thing ("By 2013, Business Insights estimates that the market for enterprise mashups will be worth $1.74bn...").

If I were in charge of flavor forecasting, I wouldn't be able to resist the urge to mess with everyone. The autumnal equinox means it's durian time again! Celebrate the flavors of the season with a nice hot durian, bitter melon, and chili latte!
posted by mubba at 8:01 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I had to go buy cookies for an office work thing and this thread inspired me to try the pumpkin cookies at Harris Teeter, which are EXCELLENT. Yay pumpkin season!
posted by leesh at 8:06 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


downtohisturtles: That's me too! Apparently when I was about 6 or 7, I ate an entire pumpkin pie by myself when no one was paying attention to me because they were all getting ready for the Thanksgiving meal. Ever since then, 20+years later, there is literally a pumpkin pie just for me. And since my birthday is around Thanksgiving (I was born on the day!) my birthday always comes with birthday cake and a pumpkin pie. But I really only want one piece of pie!
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:08 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Ma'am reporting in on the Flavorcasters move through -"
"Yes, I'm aware of their movements, they're destroying our kingdom. How fare the Umami Knights?"
"Ergh, the Umami Knights have - they've all been destroyed."
"But there was a whole legion! And what of the Spice Brigade, are they well?"
"Also...they're gone."
"When will the scourge of the Flavorcasters be abated?"
"WHEN THE STAR OF ANISE COMES THROUGH THE NORTHERN SKY THEN-"
"Sergeant Humboldt! No! They got you too!"

::end scene::
posted by Tevin at 8:09 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think the pumpkin spice latte backlash has a strong misogynistic element.

Put me down for non-gendered anti-American cultural imperialism.
posted by biffa at 8:13 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


leesh wrote:

I had to go buy cookies for an office work thing and this thread inspired me to try the pumpkin cookies at Harris Teeter, which are EXCELLENT. Yay pumpkin season!

I had to look up Harris Teeter - here in California, at our supermarket chain (Safeway) the bakery produces pumpkin cookies (a clamshell of 50 for like $5.00) that are TO DIE FOR.

Hooray pumpkin season.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:16 AM on September 12, 2014


If Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha became super best friends, stole Lao Tzu's water buffalo...

The trio pledging a frat? High concept, but I'd watch it.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:23 AM on September 12, 2014


I do not get the appeal of pumpkin pie. So many other, superior pies one could eat. That do not have the weird mouthfeel that pumpkin does.

But "pumpkin spice" desserts are mildly pleasant. I think one of my coworkers makes pumpkin bread on occasion. I would probably eat most pumpkin-flavored things.

I don't really care about "holiday creep" when it comes to food; eat what you want, whenever. Eh. Doesn't affect me much. I do care when it comes to decor. If you put your Christmas decorations and/or lights up before the day after Thanksgiving, you are wrong and you should feel bad about yourself. And I am judging you if I see it. Judging you hard.
posted by emjaybee at 8:26 AM on September 12, 2014


Last year in early October we had to take a family trip down to Ikea. I was very grumpy about this. It was rainy, gross, and the thought of Ikea always makes me a little pissy. We stopped at Starbucks on the way because I needed something caffeinated and hey, they had PSLs!

Suddenly it wasn't rainy and gross but seasonal and cozy. We had a nice trip. So I guess what I'm saying is, thanks for brainwashing me, marketing!
posted by Tevin at 8:31 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Joy of Cooking eggnog recipe is excellent, but you don't want to get it out of one of the editions in the years when they were trying to be healthy and lowfat or whatever the fuck, because ain't nobody got time for a healthy eggnog. I suspect the further back you go in the editions, the better the recipe gets. One of these years I will compare all the JoC versions and find out for sure. Probably I will get an incredibly stupid blog and book deal out of the experience.
posted by Stacey at 8:39 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I really love pumpkin ravioli.
That is all.
posted by Biblio at 9:21 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Foosnark: How about bacon? For whatever reason, it seems culturally associated with masculinity.

For the last several years it's been associated not with masculinity, but insufferable hipsters who think it's hilarious to talk about bacon all the time.

I like scrapple. It's associated with the mid-Atlantic, regardless of gender or creed.
posted by spaltavian at 9:26 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ya'll, not only am I drinking a pumpkin spice latte RIGHT NOW, I am doing it while listening to U2, so suck it haters.
posted by Violet Hour at 9:40 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


As long as we're talking about great seasonal pumpkin stuff: a few years ago, there was a restaurant in Philly called Maru Global. It was a tiny place run by a dude who grew up in Japan and his wife, that made Japanese street food - curry, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, etc (including the most wonderful fusion dish ever invented, the Curry Burrito). The day it closed was the saddest day in Philadelphia since Rocky lost to Apollo Creed.

One fall, they had a one-day-only three-course pumpkin dinner. Pumpkin salad as an appetizer, Japanese pumpkin curry as a main, sweet pumpkin takoyaki for dessert. Wash it all down with an illegal pumpkin beer (they were BYOB but didn't have a liquor license, so you were technically buying the beer from the beer store down the street). To date, when asked, I'll still hold that up with the first-ever beer dinner at Tired Hands and the time I took my girlfriend to Le Bec Fin for her birthday for one of the greatest meals I've ever had.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:43 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Haha, LizBoBiz. I have the same thing. Birthday is in late November. Except in my case it wasn't pie in addition to cake, but pie instead of cake. I rarely had birthday cakes. Just a pumpkin pie with candles in it.
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:53 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Some people make pumpkin curry or all year round or at least until they run out of pumpkins (or the pumpkins go bad.)

That's kind of the point of gourds and tubers, isn't it? They keep well.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:54 AM on September 12, 2014


I suspect the further back you go in the editions, the better the recipe gets.

Eventually you get back to the first edition JoC where every recipe contains squirrel.
posted by GuyZero at 10:10 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't do coffee, but I love all other things pumpkin.

I have been trying to convince, someone, anyone, to bring me pumpkin muffins to the nursing home rehab center I am in to no avail.

Stupid exploding heel and Achilles' tendon. I want pumpkiny goodness. 4 weeks, 3 days until I'm allowed to put weight on that leg and I can, hopefully, make my escape.

Then, I will eat all the pumpkin and pumpkin spice things. (until cranberry season, then I'm all about the cranberries)
posted by SuzySmith at 10:30 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Suzy: I make these pumpkin muffins on occasion. They are amazing.

I am off to get a PSL, like, right now. It is going to be glorious.
posted by MillMan at 10:58 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


well, since we're trading recipes -

I have a pumpkin muffin recipe which I make each year; don't have it memorized, but you could probably hack it using these ingredients. It's a sour cream-pumpkin muffin, with chopped-up apple in it, and nuts mixed in with the streusel topping, which is sprinkled on top of the muffins. The cookbook I got it from claimed it was a Canadian recipe, a provenance of which I'm kind of doubtful, but who cares because yes muffins with streusel and apples and pumpkin and it uses stuff from my CSA yay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Every year when I look up this recipe I'm a bit surprised it calls only for powdered ginger and barely even any cinnamon. I generally at least double what's called for, and add, mace, nutmeg, allspice and a bit of clove. Those are pumpkin spices, and are lovely. "Pumpkin spice" is generally oversweetened, which should not bother me, given my sweet tooth, but it does.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:40 AM on September 12, 2014


Oh! If you cook down your own pumpkins instead of using the canned stuff, I discovered a great trick for the leftover pulp if there isn't enough for another recipe. dilute the pulp with enough coconut milk to make it the consistency you like and drop in some green (or red) curry paste to taste and maybe a dash of salt. It's a lovely soup and rather low effort. Mind, this assumes you have coconut milk and curry paste in your pantry, but why wouldn't you?
posted by Karmakaze at 11:49 AM on September 12, 2014


This marks the start of cognitive dissonance season, wherein I find myself mysteriously drawn to Dunkin Donuts and pumpkin (spice?) iced coffee despite avoiding the place the rest of the year.

Also, the season for Pumking! I am a little disturbed when I see it being marketed in August, though. I guess I have been thoroughly brainwashed in cult of pumpkin-is-for-fall-only.
posted by ferret branca at 12:16 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you find that pumpkin-free pumpkin products are disturbing, just wait until I tell you the one weird secret behind apple brats your butcher doesn't want you to know.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:30 PM on September 12, 2014


I'M BEING FESTIVE PAUL!
posted by The Whelk at 1:53 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


1adam12: Indeed. And speaking of eating yummy things that should be eaten and not just looked at, I'll just leave this here. (Another version of the recipe with better pictures.)
posted by seyirci at 2:15 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the whole hate-on for pumpkin spice stuff is definitely at least partially tied into the misogynist narrative about women liking sweet stuff that men don't like (girly cocktails and the coffee versions of girly cocktails, etc), which I think is partially rooted in resentment because of the way we connect a lot of drinks to masculinity in a way that ends up being expressed as "I'm a REAL MAN so I can drink things that taste TERRIBLE and LIKE IT". There's also a lot of resentment about marketing and capitalism and probably individual people disliking markers of a season they may have bad memories of and the general grousing about holiday stuff being out too early and a million other things.

I GUESS WHAT I AM SAYING IS THAT SOCIETY IS PRETTY COMPLEX but these narratives effect pretty much everything and though PSL isn't my thing personally the world is cruel and oppressive and evil and Starbucks is surprisingly not awful and god damn we are all going to die alone so drink your fucking latte if it brings you joy
posted by NoraReed at 2:38 PM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


also if I did want to have a hate-on for pumpkin spice it would be super hypocritical of me because my favorite flavor is Blue
posted by NoraReed at 2:39 PM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I GUESS WHAT I AM SAYING IS THAT SOCIETY IS PRETTY COMPLEX

Yeah, I agree that there's a streak of misogyny in the PSL-backlash but that it's a bunch of things - people hating Starbucks, people hating that people like stuff that they don't like, people who just hate PSL-type drinks and don't get why people like them, the AdBusters crowd, etc.

What gets me is that a chai is so close to being the exactly same thing available year-round but no one really seems to care about chai one way or another although there are all sorts of reasons to both love and hate the Starbucks Chai™.
posted by GuyZero at 2:44 PM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are reasons to love Starbucks' chai?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:29 PM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Misogyny?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:30 PM on September 12, 2014


Has anyone pointed out yet that most pumpkin you find in cans is actually some other squash?

Most pumpkins in NA are grown to be composted after a lengthy rotting ceremony.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:28 PM on September 12, 2014


A friend of mine is a chef who cooks for Americans. He says that the sorts of pumpkin that you use in a pumpkin pie are hard to get in Australia, so I have no idea what most of the people here who are talking about pumpkins mean when they say pumpkin. (I have had pumpkin pie in the US, but it was a few years ago, and nothing about it struck me at the time as memorable.)

Mashed pumpkin (usually Japanese pumpkin or Queensland Blue pumpkins) is pretty much a staple part of the meat-and-three-veg diet of anyone who grew up in an Anglo household in Australia between the 50s and the 80s. Pumpkin scones are famous for all the wrong reasons from the same era.

We actually eat quite a bit of it still, but mostly as pumpkin soup. But pumpkin gnocchi is also pretty great.
posted by damonism at 5:52 PM on September 12, 2014


There are reasons to love Starbucks' chai?

The Tazo tea bags are actually a very nice chai - with pepper and all.

The latte is just made with a syrup version (the tea as a concentrate with lots of sugar), but if you request it to be made with the chai tea bag, you have have it without sugar. I just drink the tea with plain milk.
posted by jb at 6:26 PM on September 12, 2014


Yeah, Starbuck's chai is great if you feel like a sweet, milky beverage and hate coffee with the passion of a thousand burning suns. By general chai standards, it's meh.
posted by GuyZero at 6:39 PM on September 12, 2014


Guy Zero: have you had the full leaf chai tea? Not being South Asian, I don't have home-made to compare it to, but the Tazo Chai tea is better than any I've had in a South Asian restaurant.
posted by jb at 7:38 PM on September 12, 2014


damonism, the pumpkin most often used for pumpkin pie is a proprietary pumpkin only available pre-processed and in a tin. The closest relative you're probably familiar with is butternut pumpkin. And pumpkin pie is a sweet pie, more like a custard tart than a savoury meat pie with pumpkin and gravy inside.
posted by mosessis at 9:53 PM on September 13, 2014


True fact: I live just a couple miles from the PUMPKIN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, where 80% of the worldwide supply of pumpkin is canned. This very weekend is the height of canning season and so it is Pumpkin Festival Weekend! featuring a parade with floats and marching bands and politicians, a pumpkin pie eating contest, a pumpkin craft fair, a pumpkin pancake breakfast, the crowning of the pumpkin queen, and - the main event! - the building of trebuchets for the punkin chunkin contest, where teams compete in the human powered, catapult, trebuchet, centrifuge, air cannon, and open (no explosives) divisions, to see who can fling a pumpkin farthest.

But yeah, pie pumpkin comes in a tin a little way from my house. You're welcome, world!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:18 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


mosessis, thanks. I was aware that it was a sweet pie, but not that it was a proprietary pumpkin. We have butternut pumpkins available here, but they're a bit on the boring side.

Mrs damonism's parents make a sweet pie with gramma pumpkins, but there isn't any particular spices in it like in American pumpkin pie, as far as I can recall. And gramma is a little fibrous, so doesn't have anything like the consistency of pumpkin pie.
posted by damonism at 1:06 AM on September 14, 2014


I've had pumpkin pie made from tinned pumpkin, and from fresh pumpkin (aka steamed it ourselves). I didn't notice a huge difference, except that the tinned was more reliably strained.

But then, I wasn't buying Libby's brand tinned pumpkin.
posted by jb at 3:03 AM on September 14, 2014


If we're talkin' pumpkin pie, no thread would be complete without mention of Costco's superb and budget-friendly pumpkin pie. Spicy but not too spicy.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2014


My pumpkin pie recipe makes two pies and I'm usually too lazy to halve it. If someone in the NJ/NY area wants to bring a pie to Thanksgiving and pretend they home-baked it, MeMail me some time in November.
posted by Karmakaze at 2:14 PM on September 14, 2014




Steaming pumpkin for pies seems like it would risk blandness. The Joy of Cooking method of baking small pie pumpkins, overturned, with seeds scraped out, and then running through a sieve works great.
posted by mubba at 7:13 PM on September 16, 2014


Eyebrows McGee I live just a couple miles from the PUMPKIN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, where 80% of the worldwide supply of pumpkin is canned

80% of all the pumpkins in the world are put in cans? holy crap.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:27 PM on September 18, 2014


Honestly, I've yet to have a from-scratch pumpkin pie that was superior to a from-can one. I have some friends that make wonderful dinners and desserts and I never have the heart to tell them their pumpkin pie is simply not there. Maybe I could nudge them in the direction of pumpkin cheesecake?
posted by maryr at 11:37 AM on September 23, 2014


I just had one. This is exactly how I feel about it
posted by clarknova at 5:52 PM on September 24, 2014


Pumpkin Spice is not a thing here and as a phrase it makes no sense to us.

True, and yet 'pumpkin spice' is more or less the thing sold in the UK as 'mixed spice' (which is not allspice, but may contain allspice) as used in Christmas cake, fruit mince and other wintery goodies.
posted by holgate at 3:15 PM on September 26, 2014


"mixed" makes a much better adjective than "pumpkin" after all! But the idea of a mixed spice latte sounds pretty rank.
posted by emilyw at 4:01 PM on September 26, 2014


Pumpkin spice through the lens of Baudrillard:
Pumpkin spice doesn’t conceal the fact that there are no longer seasons, pumpkin spice has no referent in reality, it exists for its own sake. The only thing “pumpkin spice”refers to is itself– like the distinct difference between “cherry flavored” items and “red flavored” candy that claims to be cherry-flavored.
posted by holgate at 11:59 AM on September 28, 2014


I'd prefer that they call it autumn spice....
posted by Karmakaze at 5:57 AM on September 29, 2014


« Older Fire sale?   |   Time erases everything Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments