Five reasons why people go out of their gourd over pumpkin-flavored things
If I had one wish, first I would go standard and ask for more wishes -- but then I would ask that all the fall-themed, pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks continue year- round. I would do this because I am absolutely, admittedly one of the lamestreamers who not only overindulges in pumpkin-spice-everythings every September to December, but also because I am part of a much bigger, very vocal group of pumpkin
psychos enthusiasts who have so much pent-up love for fall products that it seems almost...maybe...sorta like we may have serious, untreated emotional issues.
Here's a list of the top five reasons why people go crazy over pumpkin-flavored things. And to all the holiday-flavor, peppermint-craving folks out there: We get you.
5. Pumpkins produce nostalgia
As a representation of autumn, pumpkins conjure up an idyllic picture of rural farm life that's appealing to those of us who live in fast-paced, urban settings. Funny story: Pumpkins used to be considered rustic, peasant food during colonial times, and up until the industrial revolution and migration to urban centers they remained basically a seasonal staple for poor folks. But pumpkins got re-branded sometime in the nineteenth century as wistful city dwellers began to wax poetic about country living, and pumpkins started cropping up in paintings, stories, poetry and even advertisements for products.
Pumpkins give urbanites a small taste of nostalgic rural living -- a lifestyle that, let's face it, we don't really want to explore in a serious way. We just wanna feel warm, fuzzy and farmy for a minute or two over a muffin.
I don't know exactly whose brilliant marketing plan it was to only make pumpkin-flavored things available for limited times, but he/she/it has the touch of genius. I would love to see a glut of pumpkiny treats like bread, muffins, cake, pie, tarts, pasta sauce, cookies, pancakes, syrup, ravioli, candy and eggnog made available in every restaurant and store, all year long. But I also realize that my p-lust might abate if I had unfettered access to pumpkin dishes all the time.
After all, people want what they can't have, and limited access sure does make the first pumpkin latte of the season taste that much sweeter.
For the two or three people who have been living on a hippie commune that has sworn off coffee drinks, PSL stands for pumpkin spice latte, and many places have them. But Starbucks has elevated them to the status of art form -- for about $6 plus barista tip. This liquid pumpkin pie (with the friendly kick of espresso) topped with whipped cream did not use to be the harbinger of autumn; I'm pretty sure that the summer-to-fall change used to be heralded by non-coffee things like leaves turning, temperatures cooling and the first signs of lawn-death. But the organic, natural progression of seasons is now much less Farmer's Almanac and much more Facebook confirmation that Starbucks has gotten its supplies of pumpkin spice syrup.
No need to refer to calendars these days -- just check the chalkboard at Starbucks.