America. Every September.56 sleeps 'til Christmas! :D
Sorry. Now that you all hate me...Let's move on.
For the past few years, I've been signed up to emails from 100 Days To Christmas. It's a great site, with some useful hints, tips and recipes. But it's also American, and largely Autumnal, and thus, pretty obsessed with pumpkins.
I'm going to confess right now. I don't get it. Pumpkins are fun. You can carve them, decorate them, light them up, maybe even coat the seeds with delicious things to mask the taste of pumpkin seed and roast them in the oven. Beyond that? I fail to see the attraction. Pumpkin to me tastes a bit like turnip. Even cooked, they taste a bit like turnip. They also smell a bit like turnip. I actually read on the Disney Parks Blog that:
"One of the most fun things about fall is all the pumpkin-scented goodies."
Really? Autumn is fun because things smell like root vegetables?! OK then. You know I love my candles. Even they're at it with the pumpkins. By my reckoning (and I have extensive collections of candles, I'm practically an expert right here), Yankee Candles "Fall" range (what's wrong with "Autumn"? Too many "u"s for you? Why isn't Winter, when everywhere is covered in slippy ice, called "Fall", since that's what everyone ends up doing? Anyway...) includes the following:
Super Sweet Pumpkin
Vanilla Pumpkin *
Pumpkin Patch Swirl
Harvest Welcome **
** Main scent listed...Pumpkin.
But it's not just the smell. I get emails from various craft and food/beverage places which I won't list (some of which may or may not pay their taxes...), and they are ALL about the pumpkins. Pumpkin chocolate cookies. Pumpkin Spice lattes. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin Pumpkin icing. Pumpkin Soup. Pumpkin Stew. Pumpkin Pasta. Pumpkin Cheesecake. I would imagine they are all very interesting. But really? You are not enjoying the pumpkin at all. You are actually enjoying the spice, which, from what I can tell, is basically this:
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground allspice or ground cloves.
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
So I thought "You know what? I'll give it a try!" Not wanting to recreate The Starbucks Gingerbread Debacle of 2012 (I decided to try the new flavour when I saw it advertised as "Coming Soon", but between then and it actually arriving in stores I'd built it up to be totally delicious and wonderful in my head and, when I tried it, it tasted like lebkuchen not English gingerbread and I really hated it and I'd wasted £3.50 on something too gross to drink) I searched for some nice recipes, and found my spices, and asked lovely husband to pick up some canned pumpkin (as recommended by numerous people, because apparently the pumpkins in the UK are grown for size rather than taste)...And this is where I hit somewhat of a snag. No. Canned. Pumpkin. Apparently we really are all about playing with our food when it comes to pumpkins, and the idea of actually eating them is somewhat alien. So, it was back to the original purveyor of pumpkin product OCD in the UK: Starbucks.
I have to confess, I have mixed feelings about the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice range. Pumpkin Spice cake is basically just very expensive parkin with pumpkin seeds on the top. Sorry America, this is nothing new in Yorkshire, we've had it for centuries. Delicious as it is, it isn't worth the money when I can get nicer, and cheaper, from elsewhere.
Fortune and incompetence smiled on me with regards to the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I hit up Starbucks and ordered a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. By the time I got back to work and took a sip, I realised that whatever was in my cup, it definitely wasn't a SCHC. The lovely Barista who replaced it for me free of charge informed me that I had just inadvertently tried a PSL. Thanks Starbucks! :) Mission accomplished with zero effort/expense. Which was a good job, because it was pretty gross.
I have to say, I didn't like PSL at all and I still don't understand the hype. Maybe it's because I don't drink coffee. Maybe it's because it's a little gross. Either way, I will be sticking with my SCHC until the Toffee Nut Hot Chocolate comes back for Christmas (or, traitor hat on, Costa's Black Forest Hot Chocolate).
Happy Halloween, and enjoy your PSLs, or whatever other seasonal goodies take your fancy (and make some parkin, it's way better than the Starbucks version).
* Here is where I got bored of writing the word "Pumpkin" and started copying and pasting it in.