Autumn has arrived, time for falling leaves, apple cider, and especially for those orange orbs that seem to invade all aspects of life at this time of year… pumpkins. I think pumpkins are great as a fall decoration and make a lovely jack-o-lantern. But pumpkins are not content to remain where they belong. They have jumped the garden wall.
Case in point: We went out for pancakes for breakfast last week. What was the breakfast menu special? Pumpkin pancakes, what else. I don’t think so. I tried them once, and I really am not so fond of pumpkin that I want it in my pancakes, or my cereal, my muffin, or in pumpkin spice cream cheese on a bagel.
Peter in the children’s nursery rhyme was a pumpkin eater, at least according to legend. He may have been fond of pumpkin, but between us, I don’t even like pumpkin pie, especially not with pumpkin whipped cream on it.
Pumpkin has even assaulted the coffee menu at Starbucks with a pumpkin spice latte. It has been recently revealed that this coffee has no actual pumpkin; it is only pumpkin flavoring that makes it taste as if it has pumpkin. In a way that is even worse. Artificial pumpkin is like a plastic jack-o-lantern.
Pumpkin is baked into almost anything you can think of now, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and cookies. There is even a pumpkin-flavored peanut butter. For some unfathomable reason, fall just isn’t festive without pumpkin in almost any food you can think of.
Google your favorite food and add pumpkin. There is almost nothing you can find that is not available in some sort of pumpkin version. I searched for pumpkin spaghetti and found all kinds of pumpkin pasta and casseroles. I suppose it is not that big a leap from vegetable spaghetti if you think about it.
Pumpkin dessert pizza comes complete with a jack-o-lantern face; pumpkin ice-cream is only available in the fall. How about a pumpkin veggie-burger slider drizzled with honey? Do you want fries with that — pumpkin fries, that is. Well, they make fries from sweet potatoes, don’t they? What did you expect?
Not only has pumpkin overrun every aspect of the human culinary world, it is even found in pet food. It is good for an animal’s digestion the label says. I have a feeling it is also good for the pocketbooks of pumpkin farmers. My dog will eat about anything if it thinks it is a treat, or if it is buried deep enough in something that is meat flavored.
Not only have pumpkin people taken over the kitchen, they have also invaded the world of health and beauty. You can bath with pumpkin scented soap, wash your hair with pumpkin shampoo, soften your skin with pumpkin lotion, give yourself a pumpkin and sugar facial, squirt a bit of pumpkin cologne behind your ear, dab on a bit of orange pumpkin lipstick and finish your beauty routine with pumpkin-scented feminine hygiene products.
If it can be scented, it can be made to smell like a pumpkin. Scent the air with a pumpkin-spice air freshener or light a pumpkin scented candle for a romantic evening. It’s enough to drive you to drink — if it wasn’t for pumpkin-flavored cocktails.
Somehow this lowly fruit has taken over our common sense. I am content to confine pumpkins to fall decorations for the front porch. I do not want pumpkins in my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or anywhere else in my house. I do not want to roast pumpkin-flavored marshmallows, make turkey pumpkin chili, or smell like I’m married to a pumpkin pie.
Get thee back to the pumpkin patch, orange gourd! Fall has been commercialized to the point of ad nauseam. Enough pumpkin is enough, even for Peter, pumpkin eater.
Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss