Pumpkin spice madness

Artificial? No kidding. Natural? I seriously doubt it.

Yes, I know that today is the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I debated writing a post about this day, but decided not to, as that’s generally not why y’all come here to read. Just know that it’s on my mind too, as it is with all of you, and we’ll get  through this terrible anniversary, as we do every year.

I was at Tarzhay the other day and discovered that M&Ms has jumped on the seasonal pumpkin madness by offering Pumpkin Spice M&Ms.

Before you dash off to find yourself a bag, let me tell you straight up that no pumpkins and no spices were harmed in the making of this candy. In addition to tasting utterly fake, these M&Ms are really just bland and not worth getting excited about.

The concept of seasonal foods and drinks is fun. I love knowing that my favorite cupcake place will have various pumpkin and apple offerings in the coming weeks, that local coffee shops will have seasoned beverages, and that other eateries will offer similar foods.

However, the execution can also be disappointing. For example, I know many of you love Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes and, later in the fall, peppermint mocha and gingerbread lattes, but I have tried all of them and found them to be vile. If I can taste a lab technician’s labors, then that’s a bad thing. Instead, if I want flavored coffee, I’ll make my own. After all, Pinterest is just chock full of recipes and those never go wrong, right?

Some food companies are really pushing the envelope, such as Pringles, which will be debuting pumpkin pie spice potato chips, cinnamon and sugar potato chips, and white chocolate peppermint potato chips later this fall. Early reviews are not good, not good at all. If the words revolting and abomination are used, then I think we can all agree to just skip the taste test.

On a related note, it sounds like we should all skip pumpkin pie vodka too. Blech.

But, there are plenty of yummy seasonal foods out there. I have some pumpkin puree in the pantry and will soon be making a fall-ish granola. And when it’s finally chilly, I’m going to go back to pumpkin pie oatmeal as my breakfast of choice: Oatmeal made with milk and a little pumpkin puree, then stir in some pumpkin pie spices, pumpkin seeds, and raisins. On special days — any day ending with a Y — crumble part of a ginger snap on top. (The ones I get from Whole Foods are really spicy and not very sweet.) Delish.

Unfortunately, this week, Mother Nature is messing with us and giving us one final (I hope) blast of summer in order for us to truly appreciate autumn. It’s going to be in the 90s today, so not really good pumpkin weather. Rumor has it that things will cool off by the weekend. I will be ready.

What’s your favorite fall food?

Disclaimer: I’m not employed by any of the companies mentioned, nor was I asked to review their products. Also, just because I mention some products here disparagingly does not mean that I dislike the companies involved; it’s just that some of their offerings are just really not to my liking.
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17 Responses to Pumpkin spice madness

  1. Cassi says:

    I am not ready for pumpkin yet, although your oatmeal mix sounds wonderful. Once it (if ever) cools down here, I’m ready to go to the apple orchard for some cider and donuts. I’d like it to cool enough that I could enjoy hot cider instead of iced cider. :-)

  2. Becky says:

    Fun fact – canned pumpkin is in fact, not actual pumpkin, but a few varieties of winter squash that are more consistent in flavor and texture. The best pumpkins are the smaller ones, known as sugar or pie pumpkins.

    I’m really over all the fall ‘pumpkin’ flavors. As someone who hates to let summer and the warm weather go, the only fall flavor I applaud the return of are apples.

  3. Suzie says:

    I’m not ready for pumpkin yet, either. When I am, my go-to snack is Starbucks’ Pumpkin Scone. That thing is to die for.

    (I probably won’t really eat one, as it has no place in my current eating plan.)

  4. jen_alluisi says:

    Yuckyuckyuckyuck to all the artificial chemical “seasonal” flavors, most especially pumpkin. I love pumpkin pie. I abhor the Sbux beverage. I love real apple and real cinnamon and real caramel. Cranberries and nuts and oatmeal. Soups and stews and pot pies. All the warm fuzzies of fall! (PS – Cooler weather coming Friday!)

  5. bdaiss says:

    I super big ol’ puffy heart fall. But this pumpkin pie nonsense has to stop. Too much of a good thing! (Or not so good thing in many cases.) One little concoction I do want to try this year: mulled apple cider with caramel vodka. Hurry up cooler weather! (Upper 60′s/low 70′s all week here.)

  6. Ugh, I too am repulsed by fake flavored food. Here’s my favorite -very real- treat, from Our Best Bites, a nice family style recipe blog:

    http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/06/buttermilk-caramel-syrup/

    Yes, it’s an indulgence, but that makes it even more special. It’s easy to make, the leftovers keep well (until you’ve devoured it one cold creamy spoonful at a time) and SO decadent; on ice cream, fruit, cheesecake, or a big spoon!

  7. Patience says:

    I’m not ashamed to admit I ordered a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks today. Horrible day at work=no guilt frankenfoods. Ordinarily, I don’t even like pumpkin, except for the pumpkin curry at Ariana’s.

  8. Aunt Snow says:

    What IS pumpkin flavor, anyway? If Starbucks or whoever want to evoke the flavor of holiday spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves, fine – but why would anyone want their coffee, chocolate or, Goddess forbid, fake potato chips taste like PUMPKIN, which is a SQUASH?

    Pumpkins are fruits whose major virtue is that they are nutritious and bland enough to take on the flavoring of whatever you make them taste like. In the case of pumpkin pie, you make them sweet and add cinnamon and other spices. We can make equally good holiday pies from starchy tubers like sweet potatoes – does Starbuck propose making sweet potato flavored coffee?

    How can fake squash flavor be attractive? It would be like asking someone to flavor their coffee with fake green bean flavor, or fake eggplant flavor.

    Why not just make the coffee, M & Ms or Pringles sweet with spice?

    • I love sweet potato pie! (Who am I kidding? I love pie. Period.) I also love sweet potato fries/chips/roasted nuggets of goodness. (Light on the salt and other flavors, please)

      Yes, pumpkin as a rule has little flavor, and the pureed stuff sold in cans is squash –not pumpkin– but Fourbucks used to make those lattes with a bit of pumpkin puree added to a lot of sugar and spice. I’m not certain they do that anymore.
      And you make a good point: I normally prefer my coffee to taste like coffee. :)

    • Venti brussels sprout latte with a shot, no foam. Oh, yeah.

  9. “no pumpkins and no spices were harmed in the making of this candy”
    I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry at that statement!

    We’re still awash in zucchini and 85+ degree weather. Fall? Pumpkin what?!? (I concede, there are pumpkins growing in our garden.)

    I usually buy one pumpkin spice latte per year but last year I was disappointed in the flavor. I wonder if they changed it? I haven’t yet tried the “skinnier”/healthier versions found on pinterest, but I probably will attempt them at some point. The favorite at my house are pumpkin pies, which are gobbled up here faster than I can make them.
    In the meantime, it’s all about zucchini bread and [very, very soon] apples!

  10. Since I don’t do coffee or any sweetened drinks for that matter, I have missed out on all the seasonal beverages! I also can’t imagine sweet potato chips – why would they do that?

    I did hear someone at Target talking about the pumpkin M&M’s. They seemed to like them. I have not liked any of the new flavored M&M’s I’ve tried – I prefer the peanuts or almonds to the fake flavors.

  11. Nothing NOTHING tastes like real pumpkin. I shudder to think of these “posers.” Yuck indeed!

  12. Sue Treiber says:

    I’m sorry, but you can leave all the PSL’s to me. I am a fan.
    There’s just something about it that I really like.

  13. Jennifer says:

    I love pumpkin everything (except coffee), but I hate the spice (except cinnamon). Why is there nothing pumpkin without the spice? Nothing!

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