Flavor of the Week: Pumpkin Spice


“Measure your life in pumpkin spice.” That’s how those Rent lyrics go, right?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve consumed: pumpkin spice malt balls, Pumpkin Spice Latte (yes, it’s a proper noun), pumpkin latte (there is a difference), pumpkin croissant, pumpkin croisbun, pumpkin cheesecake milkshake, pumpkin fro-yo, pumpkin pie Clif bar, pumpkin tortilla chips, pumpkin spice yogurt, ‘perfect pumpkin’ Rise breakfast bar, pumpkin muffin, pumpkin cream cheese muffin, pumpkin coffee cake, pumpkin beer, and really what I’ve come down to is that the more you look at the word ‘pumpkin’ the weirder it starts to look. Pump-kin. Pump. Kin.

I have a big Q, though: WTF is pumpkin spice?

On my pumpkin crusade, a friend told me I should eat a raw pumpkin, too.

Hey, basic bitches, that might not be such a bad idea.

And another Q: What is it about pumpkin that portrays images of ‘basic,’ and what roles do we take up when, early October, we order the PSL instead of the half-caff? Are we really coming down from places of higher complexity and more auxiliary? Am I trapped in tight So-Lows from 2008 that in reality haven’t fit me since 2004?

Why has the love of a round, orange winter squash led you to force me to get my Uggs out of the giveaway pile just because I want to order my latte soy, and with whip?

Also, will you judge me if I order the PSL and peace out as opposed to holding up the line for sugar and cream because I’ve gotta stop to ‘gram it?

Pumpkin spice has become so vanilla, but we freak out over it because of things like low supply=high demand and fall is ephemeral, and life is ephemeral, so we must document it and share it and make sure everyone knows WE LOVE PUMPKIN SPICE and we’re ALIVE and living in THE SPECTACULAR NOW. I’m guessing that movie wasn’t actually about pumpkin spice–I tried to watch it once with a boy, which was a doomed plan from the start as boys are too jittery for romanticized high school relationships–but hey, if the title works, steal it to prove a point about the flavors of fall. Okay, actually, don’t steal titles. That’s terrible advice.

In real life, people get shit for ordering vanilla. It’s an insult to be called ‘vanilla.’ Everyone likes vanilla, but no one wants vanilla. And cue the inevitable pang of guilt when your friend, in line behind you at the chic, overpriced downtown ice cream parlor inquires a crude, “Vanilla? You’re getting vanilla?”

Is there a “Pumpkin spice? You’re getting pumpkin spice?” There’s not. There are only completely arbitrary reasons as to why it’s suddenly frowned upon to love fall, such as, well, the fact that suddenly everyone loves fall. Fall is a season, not a Beatle, everyone can love the same season, get over it.

How would I describe pumpkin spice? (Don’t forget, I’m basic and narcissistic–see second paragraph for proof–so I’m just going to assume you want to know.) It’s like a sweet gingerbread, but not sugar-y. It’s like creamy pumpkin pie. Can you describe the flavor of pumpkin spice with the flavor of pumpkin pie? Is that kosher? Is pumpkin kosher?


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