A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article here explaining my hatred of iceberg lettuce. About half of you hated me and half agreed, but one thing was clear, you were very vocal about it. So we are launching a new series called food fight. One of our RCe writers will take a stance on a potential controversial food item. We will ask for counter opinions on social media and pick someone to tell their side. Then we throw it back to everyone to make a pick and debate. Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page which side you take.
Today comes the hot flavor of the fall for the past couple of years. Pumpkin Spice. We invited one of the biggest pumpkin spice lovers we know Tonya Oaks Smith to weigh in. Challengers always get the last word around here, so I will kick things off.
End the Pumpkin Spice Madness – Greg Henderson
I grew up loving pumpkin pies. They were a special treat that came only once, maybe twice, a year. I thought nothing could ever touch my love of pumpkin. Then along came the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I am not sure if this is the cause of everything.
First off, as with all Starbucks drinks, calling it a Latte is a bit of a stretch. It is briefly waved in front of a bag of coffee beans before handed to you. However try to get one of those with an extra shot or two of espresso and you will quickly find pumpkin spice and coffee is a bad pairing.
That seems to be the case with just about everything pumpkin spice. Since the trend took off you can find pumpkin spice M&Ms, beer, potato chips, lasagna, dog treats (because your dog wants to be trendy), and the best… Burger King did a pumpkin spice burger.
This is why we cannot have nice things America. We find one flavor that a few million people like and we inject it into everything we can find (see also bacon). Then we overdo it until everything that was pure and beautiful has been stripped out of it and we can’t even enjoy our childhood favorite pie without awful memories of that lasagna we decided to try.
Leave my pumpkin pie alone, stop being food terrorist.
Pumpkin Spice: American Food at its Finest – Tonya Oaks Smith
“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.
At this moment, I have no fewer than three pumpkin-spice-flavored items within arm’s reach on my desk. I have no apologies for my seasonal obsession, and I am not alone in my dedication. In fact, I tweeted “Pumpkin spice is the bacon of fall” several weeks ago and earned several favorites and retweets for my epiphany.
Pumpkin itself is one of the most perfect foods. In his book, Pollan advocates for humans to ingest mostly plants, and pumpkin is certainly one of those. What’s more, it’s got vitamin A, fiber, and beta carotene. Therefore, pumpkin is the perfect seasonal food.
But we’re not talking pumpkin itself here; we’re talking about pumpkin-spice-flavored things and pumpkin-flavored things. I assert that pumpkin spice is the perfect seasonal flavor. In the South, a pumpkin is a decoration, not a food source. We carve pumpkins and place them on the porch and summarily throw away their carcasses after Halloween. We like our squashes pretty and biodegradable so that the raccoons can eat too.
In lieu of actually partaking in pumpkin eating, we must enjoy pumpkin spice. It adds a fall-flavored-festiveness to almonds, coffee, chocolate, yogurt – yea, to all the things. If you don’t like pumpkin spice flavor, you’re simply not American.
Tonya Oaks Smith has spent most of her adult life smoothing frayed edges, herding wet and hungry cats, breaking down silos and perfecting the #facepalm –- all while dancing backwards and in heels with a big smile on her face. A former reporter who sold her soul and then redeemed it by moving to communication for a public university, Smith is a fan of the words “y’all” and “malheureusement” — not necessarily in that order, and prefers the em dash to commas. She’s currently the director of communications for the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law.