Food Trends

Pumpkin spice madness: Stop the insanity

Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere.

Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere.  (Reuters)

Fall has arrived. Let’s talk about pumpkin spice.

Back in the last millennium, when I was a kid, we didn’t have pumpkin spice. The highlight of our season was picking out a plain old pumpkin. Find a round one (better for carving) with a flat bottom (so the candle wouldn’t fall over), have a cup of hot chocolate when you got home and call it a day.

But that was then. That was before someone, somewhere, for some reason, decided glowing eyes just weren’t enough anymore. Pumpkins were so 20th century; 21st century pumpkins needed spice. 

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You can’t throw a rake today without hitting pumpkin spice.

Every October, my mother buys a pumpkin spice candle the size of a small child, conducts a brief safety meeting and then grabs her blowtorch. It produces a spicy orange glow that fills the room and burns the eyes. Thanks for the hay fever, mom.

But if a nice, warm house fire isn’t your cup of pumpkin spice tea, no problem; they make pumpkin spice scented oil, too. They sell it in 25-gallon drums. It’s over in aisle 2, right next to the pumpkin spice placemats. (I’m taking their word for it. No way I’m sniffing a placemat.)

Would somebody tell me, please . . . When did pumpkin spice become a holiday?

I once had an entire relationship while waiting in line for a pumpkin spice latte. We met at the back of the line on a Friday afternoon, and by Saturday morning we had almost reached the counter. We liked art museums; he laughed at my jokes; we were making plans for Thanksgiving. And then came time to order. He let me go first. (All that and a gentleman, too!) I was a Tall, Non-Fat, Decaf. He was a Grande, Soy, Iced.

It never would have worked.

When we parted, he let me keep his cup holder. But I can’t date a man who drinks iced soy. I mean, really, it’s the children who would suffer.

This pumpkin nonsense has even made its way into our food. The other day I saw a winter squash trying to pass itself off as a spicy pumpkin. That’s just sad.

Even muffins aren’t immune. Blueberry and banana are perfectly fine any other time of year. But when they bring out the pumpkin spice muffins, they become half-priced-day-old, way over there on the side, next to the bran.

There’s hope, of course. 

Come December, pumpkin spice will have to slide over to make room for cinnamon sprinkled and peppermint flavored. But it’s that horrifying, endlessly long stretch of hours between the end of Thanksgiving and the first day of December that I’m worrying about. What to do then?

How about pumpkin spice cinnamon candy canes? Coming soon to a store near you. For a limited time only. Be sure to buy in bulk.

Fads come and go, but pumpkin spice is here to stay. Retailers are barely scratching the surface of this goldmine. Sure, there are air fresheners for your home and car, but where’s the toothpaste? Someone has dropped the orange ball on that one.

I say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Hey, Spice Girls! Can you use one more? Call me Pumpkin.

A native of Eastern Kentucky, Los Angeles resident Michele Mahone began her career in the entertainment industry as a make-up artist to the stars. When NINE NETWORK Australia came calling in 2008, she became a Hollywood correspondent for the "Weekend Today Show" and Mornings with Kerri-Anne.  In 2014 she joined "Wake Up" on Australia's Network TEN. As a stand up comedian, she has performed at some of the biggest clubs in the country and an Indian casino for good measure. Click here to visit her website. Follow her on Twitter@Mmahone and find her on Facebook.

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