The Pumpkin Lottery

The other day, as I was sitting in a seminar, I realized that there was something new in the air. I took a whiff. Was it hope? No, it was definitely not as good as hope. Was it Fall? No, it definitely wasn’t as utterly soul-crushingly miserable as the season that heralds with pathetically flashy displays of leaf color and gourds the impending death and darkness of winter. No, it was just pumpkin spice coffee ““ and I realized that for the foreseeable future, pumpkin would be everywhere.

I like pumpkin just as much”¦ No, sorry. I was going to say that I like pumpkin just as much as the next person, but given the ferocity with which people have jumped onto the pumpkin train (sample conversation: “Let’s make mac and cheese!” “NO! Let’s make mac and cheese WITH PUMPKIN!” “Fuck that, let’s make pumpkin and cheese WITH PUMPKIN! Take that mac! We don’t want nunya ’round here! It’s Autumn Time!”), I sincerely doubt that I like pumpkin just as much as the next person. But I like it OK. I am not anti-pumpkin”“I just don’t get it the way some people get it.

I feel like a stranger in a strange land. With the falling temperatures and the slowly disappearing sunlight, there seems to be a temporary madness that falls upon Americans. The energy and drive that in the summer was channeled toward barbecuing and going on float trips has now metamorphosed into an all-consuming pumpkin-mania. Pumpkin gets pushed into coffee, cookies, cakes, scones, pasta dishes, side salads. Heck, for all I know, someone somewhere is shoving the canned orange gloop into the body cavity of a perfectly dressed and ready for baking turkey. I can picture them writing it up on their blog and calling it “An Autumnal Feast” and decorating their dinner table with old husks of corn purchased from a craft story, Sandra Lee style.

But maybe things won’t play out that way this year: there is talk that we might experience a pumpkin shortage this year. When I close my eyes, I see hundreds of people wandering the aisles of grocery stores, eyes frantically searching the shelves for pumpkin, fresh or canned. It’ll be more valuable than gold. Reporters, inspired by the popularity of “Texas tea” will take to calling it “America’s Golden Boogers” before switching back to “pumpkins.” Families will go pumpkin-pie-less, children will weep while watching their parents attempt to carve ghoulish faces into bananas and zucchinis, and the man who grew the world’s largest pumpkin will sell chunks of his gigantic gourd to a pumpkin-deficient crowd. He will find himself recouping all he lost in the stock market, and more. He will be the one percent.

9 replies on “The Pumpkin Lottery”

I’m about with you on the pumpkins – I like them (and I LOVE pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, and any variation of pumpkin-based soups) but I don’t go nuts or feel the need to put pumpkin in everything.

But much more importantly, after reading this post and all the comments, all I can think of is how weird and hilarious the word “pumpkin” is.

I have come to the conclusion that I feel the above described ardor for pumpkins for winter squashes generally. I used to think I was a pumpkin maniac because I like pumpkin pie and have my once/season pumpkin spice latte but then I spent two years in the USA and met REAL pumpkin maniacs and my relative enjoyment of pumpkin is nothing compared to the deep seated love some of my friends feel. When I was living in Florida I even attended a pumpkin themed party, where we went to a pumpkin patch, carved pumpkins and then enjoyed pumpkin flavoured treats. I have realized that if I have a particular undying love for any squash it’s butternut, it has more flavor than pumpkin, fewer seeds, and makes tastier soup. I was actually thinking last night that the starbucks pumpkin spice latte should be re-branded as the butternut spice latte, and that I would drink it then. Pumpkin I can take or leave, but the rich creamy taste of butternut squash, you can pry that out of my cold squash hoarding* hands.

*Note Bene: There is a strong  possibility I have 10 cups of butternut squash pureed and frozen in my teeny tiny apartment freezer.

I am, shamefully, part of the pumpkin mania. I love pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin pie, and I love seeing pumpkins all carved up or painted for decoration. Part of it might be that it’s still 100 degrees all this week, so pumpkins are as close to a fall feeling as I can get right now, probably until after Thanksgiving. Long live the pumpkin!

Our copyeditor team, which seems to be composed exclusively of pumpkin-haters, were all raving about this piece and I couldn’t wait to read it.  I have to confess that I am part of the pumpkin mania.  This is timely though because I was recently thinking that I was disappointed with some pumpkiny things.  I’ll take a pumpkin donut, but it’s not any tastier than a regular donut.  I think pumpkin coffee is gross.  I made some pumpkin bread that was pretty disappointing.  I made a yogurt/cool whip dip that was supposed to taste like pumpkin pie, and most just tasted like Greek yogurt mixed with pumpkin, which is all it was.

I still love regular pumpkin pie, and the pumpkin pie cupcakes from Bake It In a Cake that I made last year were freaking amazing.  But I am becoming more and more disillusioned with pumpkin products in my old age.

Not that it’s stopped me from hoarding two extra cans of pumpkin in my pantry. Just in case.

A) The tags are spectacular.

B) This post is goddamned amazing.

C) I actually do hate pumpkin-flavored things, up to and including actual pumpkins, so I’m glad someone else has noticed that October has turned into ALL PUMPKIN ALL THE TIME IN ALL THE FOOD month.

So that pumpkin stuffed turkey sounds kind of delicious.

I look forward to specialty pumpkin crap all year long. Not pumpkin coffee, flavored coffee tastes like Smurfs, but pumpkin bread? Pumpkin pie? Pumpkin pancakes? Yes, please. With a big glass of apple cider or mulled wine on the side.

Needless to say, I am saddened by the pumpkin shortage. My pumpkin related grief did not stop me from laughing really hard at this, however.

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