Beth is a professional author and mom. Autumn is her favorite season of the year, as long as it isn't commercialized to death.
Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year. I love the crisp, cool air, seeing the gorgeous turning of leaves, and the aroma of seasonal fare wafting out from the kitchen to fill the home. This is the time for apple cider, hearty bean dishes, corn delicacies, and delicious pumpkin pie.
Not too many years ago, retail manufacturers decided to cash in on the public's enchantment with autumn time. They began by offering seasonal twists on their products that featured the tastes and fragrances of the season. Their patrons were delighted! On the market now was a cornucopia of cool autumn products to choose from: from cider apple scented candles to harvest corn essential oils; from acorn squash bath beads to cinnamon-apple wine!
One seasonal scent and flavor, however, beat all the others in consumer interest: pumpkin pie. More specifically, it was the array of heavenly spices that go into the making of this dessert. We consumers had plenty in which to indulge our pumpkin spice fetishes: lattes, doughnuts, whipped cheeses and creams, potpourri, air freshener sprays, pumpkin- pie-flavored this and pumpkin-spice-scented that.
Manufacturers have not stopped coming up with new and inventive ways to sell us pumpkin spice every year. In fact, many of these products are so novel as to be ridiculous. The zealous over-marketing has brought many consumers to the wise conclusion that some of the products are laughable at best.
Corporations with big-name identities are not the only ones guilty here; lesser-known and even small, at-home businesses have jumped on the pumpkin spice bandwagon. I have a feeling not a single one of them understands the concept of less is more. It is as if they believe that we, the public, really, truly need anything and everything under the sun that smells, tastes, or even sounds like it might smell or taste of pumpkin spice.
The following fifteen products are my personal pick for the most unnecessary of the whole pumpkin pie/spice lot. If you find any others just as ridiculous or even more ridiculous, I'd love to hear about them!
15. Pumpkin Spice Cigars and Cigarillos
After enjoying a big slab of pumpkin pie and a cup of steaming pumpkin latte, what better way to finish your meal? I would say nap, but then again I don't smoke cigars.
14. Burger King's Harvest Time BK Pumpkin
If the smell of pumpkin spice cigars isn't enough to eliminate your pumpkin craving, this BK item may just do the trick. While never popular in the U.S., this "burger" is still sold in some Asian markets. I have never tried it, and just seeing a picture of it assures me I never will.
13. Pumpkin Spice Seasoned Catfish Nuggets
Yes, I love catfish. But when I want catfish, give it to me breaded in corn meal and fried in butter. Or marinated in beer batter and baked, I don't care. Just no pumpkin spice seasoning, EVER!
12. Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles
Pringles has come up with some delicious varieties over time, but this one sorely missed the mark. Any seasoning should simply enhance a potato chip instead of overwhelming the chip with the flavor of a second vegetable, as is the case here.
11. Pumpkin Spice Cologne/Perfume
Now I like the scent of pumpkin spice as much as anyone else, but it just doesn't do a thing to put me in the mood for lovemaking. Nor do I know any man who reacts to pumpkin spice like an aphrodisiac. Now if the man had gone days without eating, and if Miss Universe showed up doused in pumpkin spice fragrance while wearing nothing but a chef's apron and bearing a platter of deli meat and cheese, well ok, he might think pumpkin spice is the sexiest scent since bottled pheromones.
10. Pumpkin Pie-Scented Baby Wipes
And speaking of starving people...it's probably not advisable to take your infant around any of 'em if you just wiped the kid down with one of these.
9. Pumpkin Flavor Treats For Dogs
Trader Joe's may be the original culprit behind this particular kind of useless product. Whoever got the idea that dogs crave veggies, and especially pumpkin, probably shouldn't even be allowed to have a dog. Canines are carnivores; if you want Fido to have clean teeth and healthy gums, give him a bone to chew on. And if you find Fido's breath offensive, then sorry, you shouldn't have chosen a pet that drinks out of the toilet.
8. Pumpkin Flavored Dog Treats With YOGURT
Just imagine the conversation that went on behind the invention of this product.
Product innovation person 1: "Hey Joe, how can we upgrade our promotion of pumpkin-flavored dog treats so trendies will think these god-awful things are essential for maintaining their dog's good health?"
Product innovation person 2: "I guess we can add another ingredient that is totally useless to dogs but one which appeals personally to the owner. Tell me, what do you like to eat but your dog usually turns his nose up to?"
Product innovation person 1: "Chocolate? No, even if Fido would eat chocolate, it might kill him. Popcorn? No, he might choke on that. Weed? Nah, Fido gets high enough from my second-hand smoke. Beer? Wait, he likes beer. The taste of women's feet? No, no...oh, I know, yogurt!"
Product innovation person 2: "Hm, yogurt-filled pumpkin treats. Sounds ideal! And if nobody falls for it we always have that taste of women's feet thing to fall back on."
7. Pumpkin Spice Feminine Wash
There was a time when feeling fresh as a daisy was good enough. Now women are led to believe we have to smell like a baked vegetable.
6. Pumpkin Pie Butter
Who needs an entire stick of pumpkin pie flavored butter? Probably the same folks that buy it in a 4-stick carton, enough to last all through autumn and clear into winter. But I imagine this rather counteracts the appeal because by the time January rolls in you know customers will use their New Year's resolutions to swear off pumpkin pie flavored anything forever.
5. Pumpkin Pie-Flavored Beef Brisket
Unless you're dining at some high fluent'in, heavy dollar restaurant, how many of us want to ruin a perfectly good beef brisket with pumpkin pie seasoning? Not me, that's for sure.
4. Pumpkin Spice Chicken Feed
If you think pumpkin spice dog treats go too far, it's likely you don't own a chicken. But you probably do have more common sense than anybody that thinks their live poultry care if their feed is flavored or not. I have owned chickens; they eat worms, bugs, and even their own waste, and believe you me, having pumpkin spice flavored feed is not on their list of organic culinary needs.
3. Pumpkin Pie-Flavored Fish Bait
Speaking of worms and going back to those catfish nuggets... I suppose if pumpkin spice breading doesn't supply enough flavoring to the nuggets, then your main course should be saturated from the inside-out with pumpkin taste?
Maybe I'm just trying too hard to connect the dots.
2. Imitation Pumpkin Pie Spice
With the wide availability of inexpensively bottled spices on the market, who on earth wants or needs imitation pumpkin spice? Hm. Actually I think I've already figured out the answer to this one. And that individual well may be the same guilty soul who came up the last ridiculous product on our list:
1. Mock-Pumpkin Apple Pie
Mock-pumpkin apple pie. Oh sure, modern chefs, like your family and guests ain't going to notice the difference between pumpkin and apple! And I hope you do realize this dessert is one pitiful step away from the mack daddy of lazy desserts—mock-pumpkin mock-apple pie?
Sad, sad, sad.
© 2017 Beth Perry