The Annual American Pumpkin Wars

Labor Day has come and gone and the “Let’s throw copyrights out the window” memes that we know and love have sprouted up on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.  Pick a side, folks, because fall is here, and you can’t be neutral when a squash is at stake.  It’s…

The Annual American Pumpkin Wars

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It used to be that you would only see pumpkin in home cooking, or you buy something from the bakery. Pumpkin would show up in pies, cakes, or soup basically.  Or, if you were from New England, you were on the receiving end of the glory that is the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie.

But along came Starbucks and the Pumpkin Spice Latte, and people who need their usual coffees in the morning are complaining about extra long lines because of seasonal clove-infused overly sweetened autumnal crack syrup.  And capitalism being capitalism, other companies had to get in on the action.  Naturally, there are sectors of the public who are saying, “Enough!”.

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So I went to my local Target to the food section to see how bad it really was. I wasn’t actively seeking pumpkin food. I just took pictures of what was in my eyeshot.

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M&M’s gone hipster. Whodathunk?

I didn’t even go down the coffee/tea aisles, nor the dairy sections. And I didn’t take pictures of everything that I saw.

To compound all of this, Starbucks announced this year that their Pumpkin Spice Lattes will now contain real pumpkin. Of course, we all have to ask, “What was in them in the beforehand?!?!?!?”  The souls of baristas?

My stance in all of this?  I love pumpkin, but I love the real thing, so I bake my own goodies.  I tried one Pumpkin Spice Latte and only took three sips because of how cloying it was, and I only go crazy for the pumpkin cereal bars at Trader Joe’s.  (Speaking of which, I need to stalk them and don my crumpet helmet too.)

But that does not mean I will protest against anyone else loving pumpkin this time of year.  Freedom of eating is an implied right really.  After all, The Boffin and The Sprog lose their minds around the holidays where everything has peppermint and chocolate infused into it.

It all balances out.

Edited to add:  According to the Washington Post, pumpkin flavored anything added up to $360 million in sales this past year up to July, up 11% from the previous year and up 80% since 2011.  I wonder how much sales will be this year.

32 thoughts on “The Annual American Pumpkin Wars

  1. I find the pumpkin flavouring obsession entirely bizarre. Our local supermarket has one entire aisle of special offers that are all pumpkin related. Seriously. And those are only non-perishable goods. I quite like a pumpkin pie. I quite enjoy pumpkin in things like soups and casseroles but I absolutely think it is ridiculous to add it as an ingredient to anything and everything. Even people who are fans of pumpkin and its associated flavours must find it cloying and boring after a while. Furthermore, it is still 90 degrees and way too steamy hot to even be considering pumpkin products.

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    1. Pumpkin=autumn with me, but I cannot abide by this at all. I can understand it being in sweet baked goods and mixes because a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing is heavenly. But there are big bucks involved, so it does not look like people are getting bored. I just updated the post with a recent Washington Post article.

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  2. I am all about pumpkin spice lattes and baked goods (mostly pie) but I think the sausages and m&ms might be overkill. I’m a bit pumpkin spice deprived in the UK and would do a lot for a good pumpkin beer!! (Specifically shipyard pumpkin head )

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    1. Ah, growing up here in the North, we have apple picking, pumpkin patches, colder temperatures, and turning leaves, so the pumpkin flavors are a bit overkill. Autumn is my favorite time of the year, so this pumpkin proliferation is no way ruining it at all. Actually, I think it is funny.

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  3. I haven’t tried pumpkin spice – it will probably be in the shops here in Britain a week before Halloween this year. Halloween just lasts on the night and the nearest Saturday night here. As for fancy dress, people have those all year round here, from hen parties to student freshers balls.
    When I lived in Southern Spain in the mid 90s, you could eat pumpkin all year round except on Halloween, when they were all exported to the UK – I had to grow my own. By the time I left, 10 years later, people had seen all the films from Nightmare on Elm Street to Harry Potter. They started having a frightening type of Halloween, which involved gangs of youth pretending the mug people with long plastic daggers.

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  4. I never bought into that PSL thing, but then I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks. I drink a lot of coffee and if I bought mine there we would be looking for a cardboard box for our retirement.

    My thing for fall is apple pies. There’s supposed to be a chill in the air tomorrow, so I baked my first pie of the season last night. Cinnamon beats pumpkin spice EVERY time.

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  5. I went through exactly the same thing yesterday at the local fancy-pants grocery store. Walking in Husband and I were assaulted with fall potpourri. EVERYWHERE. Down every aisle. It was just 88 degrees here the other day, by the way. But, New Englanders in particular love their Fall, as well as their pumpkin spice. It seems it is never too soon…

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  6. I love pumpkin spice, however, I have my limitations. I don’t need it in every product that I eat, smell, wear or touch. Overkill is annoying and takes away from the enjoyment of the product.

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