As Amer­i­can as pump­kin spice

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Opinion - Jim Mullen Con­tact Jim Mullen at [email protected] The Vil­lage Id­iot

Three years ago at this time of year, I men­tioned that I had just gone through an en­tire day with­out hav­ing a pump­kin spice latte.

I wrote that I had also suc­cess­fully avoided dozens of other sea­sonal de­lights: pump­kin spice soup, pump­kin spice marsh­mal­lows, pump­kin spice gra­nola, pump­kin spice pan­cakes, pump­kin spice beer, pump­kin spice donuts, pump­kin spice beef jerky, pump­kin spice potato chips, pump­kin spice ice cream, pump­kin spice crepes, pump­kin spice scones, pump­kin spice bread, pump­kin spice cook­ies, pump­kin spice oat­meal, pump­kin spice syrup, pump­kin spice cheese­cake, pump­kin spice hot choco­late, pump­kin spice waf­fles, pump­kin spice liqueur, pump­kin spice smooth­ies, pump­kin spice cof­fee creamer, pump­kin spice french toast, pump­kin spice sticky buns, and a few mil­lion oth­ers.

A fad is usu­ally over by the time ev­ery­one has heard of it. Surely, pump­kin spice was as dead as Beanie Ba­bies and bit­coin three years ago. I should know; I lost money on both of them. But, as usual, I was on the wrong side of his­tory.

In the store yes­ter­day, I saw pump­kin spice men­thol cough drops. It’s hard to imag­ine a more dis­gust­ing fla­vor than that — other than, say, a pump­kin spice Tide Pod. But I sup­pose these are the cough drops to take af­ter you’ve smoked a pack of pump­kin spice cig­a­rettes.

Clearly, the trend is not over. Any day now, I ex­pect the re­con­sti­tuted Spice Girls to rename them­selves the Pump­kin Spice Girls so they can dou­ble the price of their con­cert tick­ets.

It is time for the law­mak­ers to step in and stop this be­fore we lose our taste buds al­to­gether.

I’m all for pump­kin spice in a pump­kin pie, and maybe even some ad­di­tional baked goods. But not all of them. Don’t be mak­ing a pump­kin spice cherry pie. It’s a dessert too far, and it’s just plain wrong. At this year’s Thanks­giv­ing, some­one brought an ap­ple pie to my house with a se­cret in­gre­di­ent. Cumin. We had to ask him to leave. Sorry about that, Dad, but as you used to say, “My house, my rules.” Try a lit­tle harder next year.

One day, in the dis­tant fu­ture, this trend will fi­nally be over, and in the name of all things good and holy, pump­kin spice — and its loath­some cousin, hazel­nut — will go the way of Jell-O ring molds and bell bot­toms, never to be seen again. When that glo­ri­ous day comes, we will only taste pump­kin spice once or twice a year in a slice of pie on Thanks­giv­ing or Christ­mas, the way it was meant to be. I will no longer lie awake at night won­der­ing where it will be mis­used next. (Pump­kin spice taco shells? Pump­kin spice KFC?) In­stead, I will lie awake at night won­der­ing what new spawn of the in­dus­trial food com­plex will start to ap­pear on our store shelves.

Pump­kin spice will be re­placed by some new fla­vor — some­thing that seems unique at first, taken from some food that al­most every­body likes once in a while. Food com­pa­nies will glom onto it and overuse it un­til it’s in al­most ev­ery­thing you touch. Sriracha comes to mind. Lime is an­other pos­si­bil­ity. Cran­berry and pomegran- ate — fla­vors you would have been hard-pressed to taste out­side of their ac­tual name­sake fruits a few years ago — are now ev­ery­where.

With food science, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. One day, a guy in a lab coat will say to his boss, “Who doesn’t like a corn dog at the state fair?” and we’ll be off to the fla­vor races once again.

Af­ter all, if it’s good at the state fair, why wouldn’t it be good in your cof­fee? Or as a break­fast ce­real? Or a can­dle? Or a cough drop?

I will lie awake at night won­der­ing what new spawn of the in­dus­trial food com­plex will start to ap­pear on our store shelves.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.