Today is August 30. Technically it’s still summer. In fact, it isn’t even Labor Day yet. I can still wear white pants or skirts according to the fashion police, etiquette protocol or whoever dictates these things.
The summer date on the calendar hasn’t stopped the food companies from rolling out the fall foods. We’re having a barbecue today because that’s what you do on weekends in the summertime. To get ready, I made the rounds to various stores: Jewel, Target and Binny’s. At each store, in my search for hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, corn on the cob and beer, I was bombarded with endcaps like this one loaded with pumpkin flavored this and that.
Clearly, the fashion police and the food police have separate jurisdictions.
Now, I adore fall and look forward to it each year. Part of the reason I was excited to move to Chicagoland is I knew I would still be able to enjoy four distinct seasons each year. I grew up in the Northeast in prime leaf viewing country. Our preschool field trips usually involved a field trip to an apple orchard and a pumpkin patch. We carved pumpkins, roasted seeds and made a pie or two although to be perfectly honest, for some reason I cannot accurately describe, canned pumpkin seems to work better than fresh for pies, but I digress.
Up until a dozen or so years ago, we were perfectly happy limiting our fall pumpkin consumption to mostly pies and maybe some seeds. Then Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte hit the market. I consider coffee a food group so when the drink was introduced I decided to try it.
I haven’t had another one since. In fact, I am pretty sure I didn’t finish the one I ordered. That was the first time I met a coffee drink I didn’t like. It was way, way too sweet.
I know I am in the minority here since I see so much love professed for the PSL on social media. As of today, the drink itself has more than 87,300 followers on Twitter. I am not one of them. Maybe I will give it another try now that real pumpkin is going into the drink but I am not optimistic. For me, pumpkin spices and flavorings work better in tea, not coffee.
I believe that was the game changer. Food companies wanted to capitalize on the success of the Pumpkin Spice Latte and I started to see every derivative of pumpkin soon after. Beers brewed with pumpkin, fine, those are pretty good. Pumpkin spice Pop Tarts, I get that as I do like the brown sugar cinnamon flavor. Oatmeal, okay same thing as Pop Tarts. But pumpkin spice Peeps? Peeps are an Easter treat, not Halloween. Pumpkin spice Oreos? Don’t get me started on pumpkin spice M&Ms which this year have been tweaked to become Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms. Apparently, regular plain Mini-Wheats aren’t sweet enough because, you guessed it, Kellogg’s is rolling out pumpkin spice Mini-Wheats for the first time this year.
You don’t even have to go to the store to satisfy a summertime pumpkin spice craving. All you have to do is go to your computer or phone. Just today on Facebook I saw recipe shares for pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles and pumpkin cream cheese cake balls. Of course, there are also those recipes for homemade pumpkin spice lattes floating around the Internet in case you don’t want to drop $5 or so to satisfy your pumpkin spice fix. Still, it is way too early for pumpkin spice and everything nice.
Interestingly enough, pretty much the only fall food item you can’t get before Labor Day is the Pumpkin Spice Latte as Starbucks set the nationwide release date for September 8. I guess the baristas are allowed to put away their white summer attire before mixing up your PSL. Some cities can get the drink up to a week early though. I learned that through this release date tracker. I’m surprised each Starbuck’s location doesn’t have a Pumpkin Spice Latte countdown clock.
As for me, I am going to enjoy this last bit of summer today with a hot dog or brat, along with a glass of chilled white wine. After all, it’s going to be 80 degrees outside today and the forecast calls for 85 to 90 degrees each day this week. My son starts swimming lessons (again) tomorrow. There’s plenty of time later for sweaters and pumpkins. It’s very likely I won’t eat a piece of pumpkin pie until Thanksgiving. And I am totally fine with that.
Does anyone else share my view that there is pumpkin spice overkill? Or, do you embrace all of these fall foods and are counting down until your first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. Share with a comment!
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