How Do You Spell Fall? P-U-M-P-K-I-N


When I was a child, sight and touch were the two senses everyone utilized to enjoy fall. We’d see the beautiful colors of the leaves as they changed their dress in anticipation of falling to the ground, and we’d feel the cool, crisp fall air against our skin. Today fall is about smell and taste, and leaves and air have nothing to do with it. now, fall is about smelling and tasting all things pumpkin, particularly pumpkin spice. And pumpkin/pumpkin spice products are as prevalent as colored leaves on the trees somewhere other than in Florida.

Are we out of our gourds? Apparently so, seeing as how a pumpkin grows on a plant in the gourd family. Pumpkins, a winter squash, are native to North America and are one of the most popular crops grown in the U.S. They are reportedly the oldest domesticated plant; evidence indicates their use as early as 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.

But despite having been around for thousands of years, it is only fairly recently pumpkins have taken front and center during the fall season. A couple of decades ago, pumpkins started to make their move on leaves as the symbol of fall. They first appeared on the fall scene innocently enough as pumpkin spice candles. Mmmm! They smelled good.

Then Starbucks had the brilliant thought–what smells good probably tastes good as well. In 2003 the coffee chain rolled out the pumpkin spice latte, familiarly known as PSL. And voila–a coffee star, and a trend, was born. An unbelievable amount of PSL’s were sold, so Starbucks added to its pumpkin repertoire.

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is now on the Starbucks menu. I confess that I’ve never had a PSL, but I adore the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. (No, Starbucks is not paying me to say this, but if the company wants to give me some free PCCB’s for my efforts, I won’t turn them down.) The PCCB is a to die for cold brew; it contains vanilla syrup topped with pumpkin cream cold foam and, as so poetically described on the Starbucks’ website, a “dusting” of pumpkin spice topping. I give you fall in a cup.

The marketing world’s current mantra seems to be “Pumpkin spice makes everything nice.” And when they say everything, they mean EVERYTHING. It’s not fall unless every conceivable product  available comes in pumpkin or pumpkin spice. Think I’m joking? Think again.

What better way to start a brisk fall day than with pumpkin breakfast products? Take your pick from PS bagels, PS oatmeal, and Pumpkin Pie frosted Pop Tarts. Wash your choice down with some coffee made from PS K-cups. If you prefer your breakfast in a bowl, there’s a selection of PS cereals–Frosted Mini-Wheats, Special K, Life, and Cheerios. More of a visual person? You can order a mini waffle maker on Amazon for a mere $14.99 to produce pumpkin-shaped goodies such as waffles.

But pumpkin’s not just for breakfast any more. You can enjoy pumpkin goodies all day long during fall. Indulge in some pumpkin flavored peanut butter, yogurt, or pudding for a snack. Indulge in a Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat, a concoction of crisp wafers in pumpkin pie flavored creme, for a sugar fix.

But where’s the beef? Fortunately, I haven’t come across any pumpkin flavored beef products yet. Nevertheless, pumpkin spice meat is indeed available. I give you Spam’s limited edition Pumpkin Spice Spam; it’s just perfect for frying up to serve with waffles, hash, or eggs for a fall breakfast or brunch say the Spam producers. Perhaps the individual who came up with this outrageous spiced up meat in a tin can idea had imbibed one too many pumpkin spice Captain Morgan’s rum shots from a pumpkin shaped bottle.

And not only can consumers smell pumpkin spice from available food products, but they can smell like pumpkin themselves using PS beauty products. It just wouldn’t be fall without using PSL deodorant on your armpits and PS lip balm on your mouth. Your skin can be glowing like a Jack O’Lantern on Halloween from using pumpkin facial masks.

Man’s best friend should be allowed to enjoy the fall season as well, don’t you think? Rover can sink his teeth into PS Greenies Dental Dog Treats which can freshen his breath and fight tartar at the same time. Who wants natural, icky dog breath when your pooch can have PS dog breath?

So there’s literally pumpkin everywhere now; actually, it has been everywhere since before fall even officially started. But has it really? Not exactly. You might want to sit down when I tell you this. There’s no pumpkin in pumpkin pie spice. Say what? Yup. PPS is actually a blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Grant may be buried in Grant’s tomb, but you can’t find pumpkin in PS.

What’s the big deal about PS? Why is it so trendy? Psychologists have suggested it’s because the smell evokes warm memories of happy times experienced during holidays and family gatherings,  Such occasions were often the backdrop against which home-baked goods containing PS were served. We smell or taste PS, and a a nostalgic emotional response is triggered. Everyone wants a warm, fuzzy feeling, so we just have to have anything PS.

The smell or taste of PS in our deodorant, facial masks, Pop Tarts,  cereals and doggy dental treats may indeed evoke thoughts of fall. But is smelling and tasting PS the best route to experiencing the fall season? Fall brings a change in the weather and to the landscape. Rather than trying to capture fall in a bowl or under our arms, shouldn’t we just go outdoors and enjoy the fall temperatures, sights, and smells? It costs you nothing to step out the door to and experience fall. Can you say that about buying a PCCB or a PSL at Starbucks?

JUST WONDER-ing: What PS products have you tried this fall? Can you think of a new product that could be produced with a PS flavor or smell? Has the PS craze gone overboard? What says fall to you?