Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.
What’s your opinion of pumpkin? Pumpkin spice? Do you spend the first two months of fall dreaming about lattes and pumpkin-spice-filled Oreos?
I don’t like pumpkin pie, and I tell myself it’s because of the consistency. But, now that I think about it, that’s baloney. Doesn’t it have the same texture as, say, chocolate cream pie? And that’s delicious, right? I’ve never eaten a slice of pumpkin pie, even though I can get a jumbo pie at Costco for like two dollars. (By the way, did you know that Costco sold almost 1.75 million pies in the three days leading up to Thanksgiving last year?)
Give me some pumpkin cake, pumpkin soup, or other pumpkin-flavored goodies. Me and Starbucks are good friends, but I’ll admit it…I’ve never tried a pumpkin spice latte. Maybe this year.
Do you know the history of the pumpkin? Cindy Ott, the author of Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon, tells us that pumpkin was “a food of last resort” among colonial settlers. Because the crop was a new-world native, it was seen as primitive. Things began to change when Americans flocked to cities from the farm land in the mid-19th century. And the new settlers were nostalgic for pumpkins. Pumpkins soon became known as a treat, especially after the 1844 poem “Over the River and Through the Wood,” which ends with a cheer for pumpkin pie.
Nostalgia saved the pumpkin’s reputation, and the reverse came true years later. In the 20th century, small producers felt threatened by industrial farms and found they could set up roadside pumpkin stands and have pumpkin festivals, which drew customers to the country…which in turn made the pumpkin even more of a sign of the season.
The largest pumpkin pie ever, weighing a whopping 3,699 pounds and measuring 20 feet wide, was baked in 2010 by Ohio’s New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers. The filling alone contained 187 cans of pumpkin, 2,796 eggs, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 525 pounds of sugar, 14 1/2 pounds of cinnamon, 7 pounds of salt, and 3 pounds of pumpkin pie spice. After letting it cool for two hours, bakers divided the confection into 5000 slices and fed the hungry crowd.
Last year, sales of pumpkin-flavored products generated a record-setting $400 million in sales. Here is a short sampling of what’s out there:
- Ghirardelli pumpkin-spice caramel chocolate squares
- Einstein’s pumpkin bagel and shmear
- Birch Benders pumpkin spice pancake mix
- Bailey’s pumpkin spice Irish cream
- Pumpkin Spice Special K cereal
- Jet Puffed pumpkin spice-mallows
- Ben & Jerry’s pumpkin cheesecake ice cream
- Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin spice macchiato
- Jamba Juice’s pumpkin smash protein
- Pepperidge Farm’s pumpkin spice Milanos and pumpkin swirl bread
- Sprouts pumpkin spice salsa
And finally, the most intriguing product: Simply Beyond’s pumpkin spice organic spray-on spice (“This edible spray gives you the chance to pumpkinize literally everything in sight”). What will you buy this year?