It’s that time of year when we roll out the pumpkin and add it to food and drinks of all varieties. But actually, the key to that tasty muffin or hot beverage isn’t really an orange gourd. It’s spices.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp all spice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground clove
Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Store in a container with a lid.
For Pumpkin pie, use approx 1 tsp of mixture. For coffee or tea just add a pinch ot each cup. Enjoy!
Almost none of those yummy treats you scarf down between Labor Day and Thanksgiving contain any actual pumpkin. And even if they do that’s not why you like them. Honestly, if you say you like “pumpkin” what you’re really saying is you like cinnamon. There are other flavors that go into typical pumpkin pie spice but the main one is cinnamon. See that recipe up top there? I just made that up and just because it is on the internet and laid out in a certain format you will give it credence. And you know what? It will work. Take some of that mixture and put it in a pie, muffin or cup of coffee and your taste buds will respond: “mmmm, pumpkin.” Or make up your own variation, or just buy some pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice. There is no magic here, just some rather inexpensive plant material ground into a powder that is readily available at any market.
Why wait for fall? Why wait for Starbucks to tell you it’s OK to enjoy a flavor you like? There is nothing inherently seasonal to this taste. Pumpkin is seasonal but guess what, pumpkin doesn’t taste like anything. Test it out. After Halloween, before that jack-o-lantern starts to rot, hack off a chunk and take a bite. You’ll see – no flavor at all. Try cooking it; see what happens, still no flavor. Take your favorite pumpkin pie recipe and omit the spices and see if you still think it has merit. By attaching pumpkin to the names these products, and thus making them exclusive to fall, marketers create a false scarcity so they can drive sales and charge more.
I keep a jar of cinnamon next to my coffee pot and every cup I drink gets a quick shake. It tastes great and I do it everyday, not just in October. A couple ounces of cinnamon costs like $3 and will last you for years. It doesn’t go bad. Go ahead and try it.
What’s that you say? It’s not just the spiced flavor that you like, there’s more to it; you like getting a “latté” or a “frappacino” or whatever vaguely European word gives the barista a boner? Well, here’s why that tastes good: sugar and cream, that’s it. Again, these are things accessible anytime of year. So, the other eleven months of the year you’re flavoring your caffeine with soy milk and aspartame so that it is barely palatable, because… I guess cancer is better than tooth decay? Then October rolls around and you say “load that shit up with sugar and fat!” The cream and sucrose is what makes your bourgeoisuccino taste good, just accept it.
The sad thing about all this is that people go around denying themselves pleasure, denying themselves what they actually like for no good reason. Then they pay someone else a premium for delivering that simple pleasure in a limited quantity. Why do we do this to ourselves? What scars did your parents put into place that makes you think you don’t deserve a cup of coffee that tastes good? We’re not talking about buying a yacht here; it’s a cup of coffee or a goddamn donut. Eat the fucking thing and enjoy life a little bit. You don’t need to acquiesce your happiness to some multi-national business concern. If you like the taste of “pumpkin spice” then go ahead; Starbucks even puts the ingredients right next to the napkins for you all year round. Grab the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the half-and-half and go to town. It doesn’t matter if it’s autumn or spring or the fourth of July, eat and drink what you like – live your life on your own terms for a change.
Stop posting inspirational graphics on social media that say to cherish life’s special moments and then turning around and eating bread that tastes like a communion wafer or drinking coffee reminiscent of bathwater with a burnt rag in it. Don’t wait for the DD calendar to tell you it’s OK to be happy. Don’t look on Twitter for #PSL. Stop letting advertising agencies and focus groups dictate what constitutes joy and self-worth. OK?
Same goes for you McRib people – it’s frigging BBQ sauce and it is five bucks a bottle. Go buy some and live little for god sake.