P.S. I hate you
I’ve always liked autumn. I know, I know, I’m moving to the Caribbean, I love white sand and blue water, flip-flops and shorts. But I cannot deny the beauty of the dappled leaves draped in a morning mist, the crunch beneath my feet as I shuffle down a path, the comfort of a hot cup of tea on a cool morning. And as an avid collector of hoodies (no, Scientist, I am not a hoodie hoarder!), I like the soft warmth of a nice sweatshirt.
And the food. As someone who loves to cook and bake, the “holiday season” turns my kitchen into a playground. New recipes hit the Thanksgiving menu, favorite smells emanate from the oven while baking magic ensues. Growing up in New York, the predominant flavors were apple and maple, and to this day they signify the coming of cooler weather and longer nights.
Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger — these are friends with whom I associate all year, but our romance heats up once the leaves turn. Molasses cookies are soft pillows of spicy warmth. Sticky, dark gingerbread offers just a bit more — an extra heat on your tongue that lingers like a lover’s kiss. Hot apple pie mingles with cold ice cream with flaky crust to form a perfect bite.
And pumpkin? This is where our deliciously sensual discourse comes to a screeching halt. Yuck. I have, for as long as I can remember, loathed all things pumpkin. Knowing that taste buds can change over time, I’ve tried on numerous occasions. “Oh, no, you just haven’t had it baked into muffins” or “No, no, see, pumpkin pancakes are the way to go. You’ll never hate pumpkin again!” Yeah, not even close.
As for the reprehensible fad of “pumpkin spice”, I am cognizant of the fact that “it’s not actual pumpkin!” However, not only is it disgustingly overdone, but it has completely ruined the delicate waltz that autumn displays as she arrives. Instead, the pumpkin spice inundation hits like that deafeningly abysmal crap they call “dubstep”. It’s annoying, pointless, and it overcompensates for the fact that it’s a fad at best.
The ubiquitous “PSL”, or, Pumpkin Spice Latte made a little sense. Now, I am not a fan of dumping a lot of spices into my coffee, but I do get the point. However, seeing advertisements for them in August as they proclaim the arrival of autumn sets my teeth on edge. Yes, I am one of those weirdos that actually likes to enjoy each and every holiday, once at a time. I want to plan every detail of my Thanksgiving menu, but don’t bother asking me about it until after I’ve wrung every bit of fun from Halloween. I will listen to holiday music all day at work if my team wants, but not a single Silver Bell needs to ring before the turkey is packed up and the leftovers consumed.
My biggest issue is with the insertion of “pumpkin spice” into foods that clearly not only do not need it, but do not benefit from it. P. S. Oreos! P.S. yogurt! P.S. ice cream! P.S. Cheerios! P.S. Pop Tarts! P.S. pasta! [This may be the most vile “food” I have seen yet, but feel free to correct me in the comments.] P.S. hot cocoa! P.S. gum! P.S. potato chips! [EW, seriously?]
Enough. Can we not just enjoy a spice mixture in foods that make sense instead of trying to shove it into everything? Or hey, maybe you can be the one to create the next fad recipe. Perhaps we need a P.S. mashed potato dish? [If someone has already done this, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.]
Until then, I’ll go back to my quiet love of autumn and its colors and flavors, and leave the hyped-up fads to the bandwagon folks.