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To pumpkin spice or not to pumpkin spice

October 24, 2014

Fall inspires many feelings in me that lead to a couple of completely illogical things. I drag my heels in the morning checking the weather and calculating whether it really is time to put away the shorts, and at the same time have a #justgirlythings moment when I get filled with happiness at a new leather jacket.

Then there’s the extreme irritation at people posting countdowns to Christmas…Can. You. Not? Let me enjoy my orange and black and last-minute Halloween costume, thanks.

Last, there’s the confusion: I don’t know how to feel about pumpkin spice.

It’s not that I don’t know what pumpkin spice is so much as I don’t know why it’s gone from a simple seasonal flavor to a phenomenon leading to real products like Oreos and Greek yogurt to fake pumpkin-spice vodka.

Okay, the vodka one isn’t too far-fetched.

Maybe it’s because it can be used for hilarious purposes, including advertisements for a “basic white girl-catching kit” that has UGG boots, Victoria’s Secret yoga pants and a “Pretty Little Liars” season set with pumpkin-spice lattes on top. There’s also a fake “pumpkin spice” Durex condom wandering around.

However, humor doesn’t explore the second question I have: how? I ordered a pumpkin spice latte at two places. My verdict each time? Meh. A little spice, but nothing mind-altering.

Which draws me to my conclusion: I think it’s just because we can. Our generation can take something subpar and blow it out of proportion. It’s more fun to make a huge deal about “joining the ‘basic’ train” with a pumpkin spice latte than just enjoying the flavor. I guess my generation has really taken the “It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey” quote to heart.

We also have proven that we don’t care: yoga pants are “basic”? I still see them every day. Budweiser has better commercials than beer? Yep, but we’re poor and it’s better than Natty. “Mean Girls” is now 10 years old? Still fetch.

So while I personally don’t get why pumpkin spice is carving out quite a niche, in reality and the Internet, pumpkin on, Wayne.

Cassie Burton
Courier Editor in Chief

The start to fall is no longer indicated by leaves changing colors or the weather taking a brisk turn. Now, it’s not really fall until the infamous pumpkin spice latte makes its first appearance at Starbucks coffee shops around the country. Whether people like it or not, the pumpkin spice latte has become a staple beverage of the fall season, and the fervor that surrounds this flavor has moved past simple coffee drinks.

Pumpkin spice flavor has infiltrated other food and beverages. It can be found in teas and cookies. Breakfast foods like waffles and Pop-Tarts are not immune to the pumpkin goodness. Even adult beverages like beer and vodka have been infused with pumpkin spice.

People typically fall into one of two categories this time of year: pumpkin spice lovers and pumpkin spice haters.

Personally, I’m a fan of everything pumpkin spice. Is it a little much when fall hits? Probably. Do I care? Not even a little bit. Fall is my favorite season, and to me, pumpkin spice means crazy Thanksgiving dinners and cuddling in sweaters and going on hay rides. It means everything wonderful about fall like playing in the leaves and enjoying time outside.

Pumpkin spice brings those memories front and center for me, and I can’t get enough of it. Some might refer to me as a “basic bitch” or call me a stereotypical white girl, but does a flavored coffee drink really warrant these insults?

I don’t understand the hate behind pumpkin spice, and I’m glad that the flavoring is being experimented with. (I’m personally excited to try the Oreos.)

Come December, everything is suddenly peppermint flavored and no one questions it or complains. Peppermint mochas are the winter equivalent but aren’t criticized nearly as much as the pumpkin spice latte.

My goal this fall is to enjoy all of the interesting pumpkin flavors and let myself have fun with it. As Taylor Swift would say, “Haters gonna hate, hate hate.” No worries, I’ll shake it off.

Mackenzie Mahler
Courier Features Editor

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