Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Uh-Oh, It's Pumpkin-Flavor Season

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Uh-Oh, It's Pumpkin-Flavor Season

Article excerpt

Please. Everybody stop with the pumpkin!

I never thought I'd say this. I'm usually the first one in line for pumpkin bread or scones. I find the pumpkin ale trend intriguing. I was even unfazed by the Trader Joe's freezer case stuffed with pumpkin macarons, ice cream, mousse cake, pie, cheesecake ...

But lately I've been feeling some serious backlash against our jack-o'-lantern friend, who's been showing up in the oddest of places: pumpkin vodka, pumpkin fro-yo, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts, Panera pumpkin pie bagels, Sweet Harvest pumpkin tea by Celestial Seasonings, and of course the pumpkin coffees that invade Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and even innocent neighborhood coffeehouses when the weather starts cooling.

I nearly lost it when I saw that even Pringles was making a pumpkin-pie spice flavor this year. Starting in November, you can find it at Walmart, right alongside the sour cream 'n' onion and the barbecue.

"A warm blend of cinnamon and pumpkin flavor coats every crisp, delivering the sweet and spicy feeling of autumn in every bite," chirps the Pringles press materials.

Here's the key ingredient: pumpkin flavor. According to the ingredient list, the Pringles don't actually contain pumpkin. Neither do the scarily orange Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, for that matter.

No wonder pumpkin has become such a perfect "seasonal" item for mass-producers - they don't even have to use actual pumpkin. They just slap the "pumpkin-flavored" label on anything and everyone pulls out their wallet in the name of fall.

Of course, the absence of real pumpkin isn't necessarily a bad thing. The idea sounds so wholesome, so good for you, but pumpkin on its own doesn't really taste that great. It generally needs to be fattened up with sugar and spices to taste like the pumpkin-pie pumpkin you know and love. …

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