Pumpkin spice has become a crazy cultural food craze. It began as flavouring for pie, but has since grown into a long list of foods and household items that seems to get longer every year. There are the pumpkin spice cereals, doughnuts, candles, lotions, beers, and of course the infamous Starbucks pumpkin spice latte just to name a few.
So where did it all come from and why is it such a big deal? Simply put, it’s nostalgic. Americans root themselves in tradition, and pumpkin spice can be traced back farther than you think. The first reference to pumpkin spice was in 1796 in Amelia Simmons cookbook “American Cookery”. Amelia called for stewed pumpkin spiced with ginger and nutmeg for her “pompkin pudding” pie.
As Americans moved on to urban living, pumpkin spice and all of its glory came with them. Fast-forward a couple of centuries and pumpkin spice is no longer just a flavouring for pie, but a mass source of commercial revenue. In fact, in 2013 alone Americans spent $350 million on pumpkin flavoured products alone. The crown jewel of this pumpkin spiced epidemic happens to be – you guessed it – Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. The popularity of this fall drink is said to have been the reason for so many copycat products hitting the shelves. It has gotten to the point where even the most obscure of items seem to have found a way to jump on the bandwagon.
We have seen:
For the sake of my appetite, I’d rather not go on.
What I can say about the pumpkin spice trend is that as over-saturated as it may be, I really don’t mind it. Fall is a season for crisp air, crunchy leaves, cinnamon and cozy sweaters. I’ll deal with the pumpkin spice hummus, vodka and chips if it means I can warm up by a fire drinking a delicious pumpkin spice latte.