P.S.- I Hate You

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This time of year rolls around and I am forced to mourn the passing of my beloved summer. Long, sunny days are replaced by breezy afternoons, changing leaves, and the essence of the devil’s testicles. Oh, I’m sorry. Did I say “devil’s testicles”? I meant, pumpkins. And by essence, I mean spice.
Don’t get my wrong- I love pumpkins as decorations. Tiny little ones in a bowl on the table are a nice touch. A pumpkin at the front door is a beautiful accent. I am okay with the real ones, plastic ones, glass ones, fabric ones. My beef is not with those because there is no actual pumpkin in pumpkin spice. But who the hell decided that pumpkin spice needed to take over everything in my grocery store and coffee house during this time of year? Cereal does not need to be pumpkin spice flavored. Neither do cookies but I assume the pumpkin spice industrial complex are trying to hook the kids younger and younger. Also, I don’t understand why coffee needs any flavoring, let alone one that only comes around once in a fall moon.
Along with being a beautiful decoration, I think pumpkin seeds offer some of the best plant ova. And that is where pumpkins should be relegated: as decorative accents or a seed snack. There is nothing about baking a pumpkin that is appealing. Pumpkin pie looks the coagulated gourd guts. It is a brown color not found in nature but often found in baby’s diapers. I question the sanity of anyone who decides to end a delightful Thanksgiving meal with pumpkin pie instead of apple pie. There is not enough whipped cream in the world to get me to eat a slice of the offending dessert.
My dislike of pumpkin spice has been a source of fodder for my friends- as it should be. I am an easy going person who doesn’t hate much of anything. And until recently. I couldn’t explain why I loathe pumpkin spice so much.
I am going to digress for a moment here but stay with me. Cilantro (coriander) is an ingredient used by many cultures all over the world in many types of cuisines. I do not particularly enjoy cilantro. I am okay with it finely chopped in salsa, but if the menu shows cilantro as an ingredient, I want it omitted if possible. If someone asks me, “Do you like cilantro?” and I reply with a negative, the conversation is over, and we move on with our days.
Now, if someone asks me, “Do you like pumpkin spice (coffee, pancakes, scones, steak, fiberglass, etc.)?” and I reply with a polite, “No,” all hell breaks loose.
“How can you not like pumpkin spice?” And they act like I just shanked them with the serrated knife from a pumpkin carving kit.
“I just don’t.”
“Have you tried ‘Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice zucchini French bread with chocolate hazelnut filling’?” It is always Trader Joe’s because TJ’s owns a large nutmeg farm. Okay, not really but I really don’t know the reason why so many of their products go full pumpkin during September/ October.
“I have tried it, and I do not like it.” That is when I slowly back away because what usually follows is a large list of products or baked good that they just know I would love if I tried it. I counter with an even larger list of places they could stick their pumpkin spice.
So, in full Ebenezer Scrooge fashion, may I say, “Keep fall in your own way and let me keep it in mine.” Let me enjoy jumping into a pile of dried leaves. Let me have the thrill of buying back to school supplies. Let me relish the early dusks, while I cozy up in a chair with some hot tea and a good book. And let me dream of the day when we all collectively switch over to the winter season and peppermint comes along to stab pumpkin spice in the nutmeg and return it to the bowels of hell from where it came. Until next fall, of course.

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