While sipping my Pumpkin Spice Latte (decaf, coconut milk, yes on whipped cream), I wondered about the pumpkin flavoring. I know it’s not real pumpkin in my cup, although I’ve had drinks where they do put in real, strained pumpkin and it’s wonderful, but I was curious about the whole phenomenon and wasted some time researching it. Come along with me as we explore the cultural obsession with Pumpkin Spice!
Let’s start with John Oliver’s rant on the flavor. Cable-knit Sweater Latte…
There are people on both sides of the love it/hate it debate. A couple of years ago, GeekMoms weighed in on this post.
Laura: I may have pumpkin-colored walls, but I’m in with the real-pumpkin-only crowd. “Pumpkin flavored” oatmeal, granola, bagels, lattes, milkshakes, bath gel, candles, ad nauseam are mostly ways for marketers to push more product.
Maryann: I am a total fan of pumpkin spice! A few years back, I was on such a pumpkin spice kick that every frozen coffee drink that I had for a year was pumpkin spice-flavored.
For some people, it’s a nightmare!
There are a zillion (give or take) pumpkin-spiced products on the market. Here is a list of them from wine to cereal to salsa to yogurt to… We also had a Geek family try out several pumpkin spiced products and film the whole thing. Check that out here.
If you are interested in the history behind pumpkin spice, this isn’t the place to get it. Heh-heh-heh. Click here to get a quick timeline of how the spice came to dominate the autumn food market.
I remember reading a study concluding men are sexually aroused by the smell of pumpkin. Looking into it, it was actually a blend of pumpkin and lavender. The New York Times had a fair article about it. And I found several places where you can get pumpkin spice perfumes, probably fashioned after that study made the rounds of every women’s magazine. But scientists don’t believe the hype. Human pheromones are fun to talk about but hard to put under the microscope. Most responses to smell are due to culture and memories, not instinctual biology.
And finally, enjoy this Nickelodeon music video about gettin’ yer pumpkin spice on!