I posted a little tidbit on Facebook that I feared might get me fired from the Internet. Or from living in America. It said:
Just made my annual attempt to drink a PSL, and I regret to inform everyone that I still can’t get on board.
I assume someone will be here shortly to revoke my citizenship or send me into witness protection.
I ducked my head and waited for the backlash. I know that PSL Nation is a loyal bunch and they show little mercy.
When I came up for air and peeked online, I found that, interestingly, I’m not alone. That I have allies in this pumpkin-overdose disdain. Allies who have some strong opinions. Turns out there are more of us out there than I imagined.
So here’s where this post gets divisive. I mean, you either embrace the pumpkin movement or you wish for its swift and thorough demise. Maybe we can all get along in the end, but first allow me to vent.
First of all, if you are Team Pumpkin, let me just say, up front, that you win. I totally lose and you totally win beyond the shadow of a doubt. Okay? And the truth is that I envy you at this time of year. It must be fucking awesome to be bombarded with a new food option in your flavor of choice every 12–16 seconds. I love chocolate like it’s my paid job and, at this time of year, my options are practically nil in comparison.
Don’t believe me? Let’s just take my morning, mid-September errands as a frame of reference:
Stop 1, Starbucks
Yeah, this is where America’s Pumpkinpalooza started, and we all know it. It’s ground zero for pumpkin flavored treats. And I know by now that, come Labor Day through Christmas, I’m going to be ordering the sole drink in my Starbucks location served up by the barista that’s not a fucking PSL. In fact, I think they called out my beverage today by incredulously saying “Kim? Kim? Your grande NOT PSL is ready.” This was followed by stark silence and then a collective gasp of disbelief by the 39 PSL junkies ready to tackle each other for their seasonal crack with a side of pumpkin cake pops.
Stop 2, Bagel Store
It’s hard to fuck up a bagel, especially in the greater NYC metro area. And while I could pass on such common favorites as the Everything or the Cinnamon Raisin varieties, I think they’ve earned their place in the line-up over the years. But this morning, as I waited my turn to be served, I had to listen to this mother–daughter exchange:
“I think I want the pumpkin bagel with the plain cream cheese.”
“Or, you could get the plain, or the sesame bagel, with the pumpkin cream cheese.”
“Or I could get both.”
“Pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese? Do you think that will be too much?”
It was a real dilemma they were facing. Honestly, it was a good thing I had already obtained my Starbucks (non-PSL) caffeine fix, so that I was able to tolerate this conversation without an inappropriate outburst. I mean, I don’t know what kind of options these two gals were facing for their remaining meals today, but I hope they pulled through.
Stop 3, Trader Joe’s
I love me some Trader Joe’s seasonal items—but—holy shit. Based on my rough calculations, the store’s inventory is currently 89.8256% pumpkin-based. Pumpkin Butter, Pumpkin Pancake Mix, Pumpkin Spice Country Granola, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Macaroons and—wait for it—Pumpkin Doggie Treats.
Oh my god, can we please fast forward to the holiday season with the peppermint overdose aisle? Because now, I can’t even enjoy any of the free samples at TJ’s—and that means I have to make my own breakfast at home, which is bullshit.
Stop 4, Doctor’s Office
I swear I’m not making this up. I was in the waiting room when the man next to me phoned his daughter to tell her he had indeed found the Pumpkin Spiced M&Ms at the grocery store. I honestly thought I was being Punk’d at this point. Who messes with something as pure and good and right as M&Ms, for fuck’s sake? Free the M&Ms!
Stop 5, Internet
By this point, my morning errands were completed, it was clear that it was me against the Pumpkinsphere. I arrived home and set about my urgent tasks (aka firing up the computer), only to have my senses attacked by an email from Pinterest pointing me to their suggested seasonal boards. Among them, of course: EVERYTHING PUMPKIN.
Like a moth to the flame of defeat, I clicked on over to see what inspirational culinary treats awaited me from the Church of Pumpkin Disciples:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Crepes
Boozy Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate (With key words like “boozy” and “chocolate,” I’ll admit it gave me pause — but, still, no.)
Pumpkin French Toast Bake! (Exclamation point is theirs, not mine—clearly)
Pumpkin Pie Martinis (Hmmmm. Yeah, still no.)
It goes on and on and on. And beats the issue to death. As Pinterest tends to do.
Anyway. It’s no use. Operation Pumpkin Domination just getting worse every year and it’s apparently the new world order (fall edition).
But don’t feel bad for me. Because you know who I feel bad for? Apples and their fan base. Apples were the perennial darling of autumn. But that shit’s over. Yeah, sure, many of us go apple picking and we eat apple pie and a few similarly flavored items. But, if we’re being honest, apples got screwed over by pumpkins. Big time.
And their day is done.
The whole thing is fascinating, really. I should just be grateful that another member of the gourd or squash family didn’t obtain this level of stardom. Can you imagine?
So, I guess I’ll conclude my rant with a thin and insincere congratulations to Team Pumpkin. Enjoy your season in the spotlight, folks. Because, before you know it, PSL and all its culinary cousins will be a distant memory.
And I will be all hopped up on peppermint bark and lattes.