Pumpkin spice isn’t always everything nice

My grandma would be so very confused by the fuss being raised over “pumpkin spice” today. In her day, they were simple canisters on her spice rack that came out when she was making pumpkin pies for the family.

That’s it. That’s the only time that the heady aroma combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves crossed her lovely mind.

But sometime in the last decade cinnamon, nutmeg and clove became rock stars in the foodie world, worthy of groupies and breaking news updates on Twitter.

Delightful by themselves, in combination these three flavors cause ecstasy in otherwise ho-hum suburban mommies and garner a 30 percent price markup on the shelf.

I’ll be honest. I’m a fan. I enjoy that holiday novelty from Starbucks, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or #PSL for those of us in the lingo. It’s rather tasty.

In moderation I appreciate the warm aromas from a pumpkin spice scented candle. I’ve even been known to enjoy a slice of warm pumpkin bread, sprinkled liberally with pumpkin spice.

But it’s starting to get out of hand, people. Let’s rein it in.

Does my sweet little schnauzer Maggie really need “Pumpkin Spice flavored Greenies,” to help her brush her teeth? Probably not. No one really needs pumpkin spice scented dish soap and laundry detergent, Mrs. Meyers. And, Bath & Body Works, let’s just settle down with the pumpkin scented lotions and potions, OK?

And, Trader Joe’s? I don’t know who told you that chipotle pumpkin salsa should be a thing, but you need to go to a corner and rethink your life choices.

If you’re reaching for the Pumpkin Spice Oreos, the Pumpkin Spice Extra gum pack, or the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, it’s time we had a little intervention.

It is entirely possible that there is a realm of fall scents and flavors that are completely unrelated to pumpkin spice. Let’s explore them together, shall we?

It’s a baby step, but have you pondered the delightfulness that is a fall apple cider? You still get hints of cinnamon, but a dash of bright citrus. And, if you’re consuming apple cider, at least you’re getting a dose of vitamin C for your troubles.

I hear that you like your house to smell seasonally like fall, but have you considered a nice smoky campfire scent, or something in the woodsy family? Fall is more than pumpkins. There are also marshmallow roasts, hayrack rides and hedge apples. Fall harvest time means dusty combines and cotton strippers, cattle roundups and shipping, and football and tailgates. Any of those, by the way, would be a great smell to open the door to after a long day at work and nowhere near the pumpkin spice family.

I get it. You only get the scent and the flavor for three months or so out of the year. So it’s a little easy to go overboard. Totally understandable.

The first step to addressing the problem is admitting you have a problem in the first place. You can do it. You can get through fall without pumpkin spice Twinkies and Triscuits.

Just take the season one sniff, one sip at a time.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or [email protected].

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