All good things are eventually ruined. Shortly after a funny meme hits the web, brands are talking about how their pizza is for “Netflix and chill.” As soon as we discover an amazing actress in this year’s hot Sundance indie, she is locked up in a contract to play only super heroes for the next thousand years. This same fate of overexposure and eventual downfall comes to all great things in this great capitalist world of ours. Pumpkin spice is one of the saddest casualties of overexposure.
Though the pumpkin spice latte has taken a lot of heat in recent years, I stand proudly among the basic bitches of America who order PSLs on the reg from the end of August until they are replaced by whatever sub-par Christmas gimmick drink they come up with this year. However, the flavor that first established itself in pies, slowly crept into our drinks, and then spread from there has become a disease, infecting one desperate underselling product after another. Now, foods in every aisle of the grocery store are tainted with a vague taste of something almost kind of resembling pumpkin pie.
It is long past time for our nation’s brands to take a step back and admit that maybe just as not every movie needs Jennifer Lawrence and not everything we love needs to be bae, maybe not everything we eat and drink needs to “taste like fall.”
Here are some situations where pumpkin spice is far from everything nice.
Some marketing executive woke up one morning and imagined rolling everything you consume after yoga class into one item. Though we applaud the noble effort, there are the things we treat ourselves to because “we deserve it,” like lattes, and there are the things we put in our bodies to punish ourselves for the fun we had the weekend before, like hummus. This is the yin and yang of fitness that always keeps us five pounds heavier than we would like to be. Let’s not go rocking the boat.
What is a basic bro? The basic bro is a careful combination of the intense masculinity that brought TapOut t-shirts and AXE body spray into the world, and the mainstream tastelessness the made UGGs and Macklemore popular. The basic bro is incredibly macho yet will do anything to fit in. His day is spent floating from CrossFit to Starbucks and back again.
Basic bros: pumpkin spice protein shakes were invented just for you.
Candy companies continue to insist that candy corn doesn’t suck, even though millions of uneaten bowls are left on great aunts’ tables across the country every year. Adding pumpkin spice flavoring to candy corn is like when your friend sets you up on a date, and when you ask her is he’s hot, she points out that you two both like the same TV shows. It doesn’t make a bad situation any better.
This just isn’t right. You can’t do this with a condiment. There is no mustard flavored ketchup. We don’t have relish-infused coleslaw. Peanut butter has a specific, limited usage. You combine it with jelly. You mix it with chocolate. Maybe you even eat it with a banana. We use it when we want shit to taste more peanuty. It doesn’t need to get anymore complicated than that. If we wanted the item in question to taste more like pumpkin spice, we would just add pumpkin spice to it. Leave peanut butter alone!
Stay in your lane peanut butter. Damn.
Okay, yes, granola, on its face, isn’t that crazy. If you’re going to tap into the post-yoga market, flavored granola or yogurt makes a lot more sense than hummus. But, this item is just a one volley in an all-out autumnal assault being launched by Trader Joe’s. SFGate counted sixty-four pumpkin flavor items for sale at the poor hipster’s Whole Foods. An entry level employee could possibly spend half their weekly paycheck on pumpkin flavored items at TJ’s without buying anything twice.
That thing you don’t eat unless you aren’t allowed to or can’t find butter just got worse! I can definitely believe it’s not butter. That’s why I’m making this disgusted face. All of the faux-butter flavor of Country Crock you’ve always hated together with a flavoring that you never wanted: pumpkin spice Country Crock is the stuff of nightmares.
Peeps are the candy corn of Easter. Much like your drunk uncle who always mentions “how mature you’ve become” at Thanksgiving dinner, you only put up with them because you only have to see them once a year. Now Peeps are trying to expand their brand of “what if marshmallows were hardened, covered with sprinkles, and tasted terrible?” to the fall. We can’t let this happen.
You make 100% of your money off of the death of a religious figure, Peeps. Don’t you have enough?
If you want all of the slight hint of pumpkin without any of the delicious sugary flavors that make consuming a pumpkin spice latte enjoyable, try Pumpkin Spice Seltzer Water! There are far worse ways to punish yourself, and this way you’re only hurting yourself emotionally.
You remember English Muffins. You bought them that one time you tried to make a McGriddle at home by soaking these bad boys in maple syrup when you were high. Yep, see, you remember. Just vaguely, but you remember.
Even though you’re probably never going to buy English Muffins sober, this is still kind of offensive to you, right?
I’ve been dipping my chicken sausage in pumpkin spice latte for years. I kept telling my mother I was just ahead of my time.