Pumpkin Spice Season

iced pumpkin spice latteMy favorite Starbucks Reward is my free birthday drink.

Outside of that, I can’t be bothered with how many stars I’m going to earn for buying this or that.

I really like pumpkin spice. Since the weather was quite warm on the day I decided to get my drink, I enjoyed an iced pumpkin spice latte with soy milk. It was heavenly.

I’ve written about how it is so strange to me that the seasonal conversation about pumpkin spice centers around it being a thing for white people.

A recent blog post about pumpkin spice on Black Girl Dangerous gets to the heart of matter about how this conversation has seriously twisted the truth. It really makes me think about how for many years, as a person of color, I was made to feel strange for enjoying pumpkin spice.

The writer of the post, Sasanka Jinadasa, a Sri Lankan American, gives us a short history of the ingredients that make up pumpkin spice: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice.

Below is a taste of her post, but I hope that you’ll click over and read the entire thing and learn why she wants to #decolonizepumpkinspice.

Sri Lankans are proud of their cinnamon, a natural crop with a violent history, in which Portuguese traders, Dutch “allies,” and British colonists used a combination of guns and debt to monopolize the cinnamon trade in my parents’ homeland. …

The same culprits (Portuguese, Dutch, British) monopolized South and Southeast Asian nutmeg through the spice trade. The same thing happened to ginger. …

As for pumpkin? A squash native to the Americas? Who do you think grew that first, the Pilgrims? Think just a little further back. …

It’s not pumpkin or pumpkin spice that’s the problem; it’s the commodification of our resources as somehow exotic when used in non-white foods and comfort when used in white foods. And when we mock certain foods as “white foods,” particularly in America, we’re capitulating to a lie—the lie that anything we eat in the diaspora isn’t touched and flavored by people of color.

Snacking On A Pumpkin Cookie

pumpkin cookie for snacking

As I mentioned in my Edgar Allen Poe post, I had a meeting downtown yesterday. We met at Starbucks, but then decided to sit outside, since it was nice out.

My free birthday drink was getting ready to expire, so I let Starbucks treat me to an iced Oprah Chai Tea Latte. My first time trying it. It was good! Have you tried it?

Since I can’t resist anything striking any sort of resemblance to a pumpkin or hinting at pumpkin spice, I broke down and got a pumpkin sugar cookie since it was perfect for snacking. It wasn’t pumpkin spice, but I still enjoyed it.

I could probably bake something just as good, if not better myself for snacking. Maybe I need to get a pumpkin cookie cutter?

Pumpkin Spice: Do You or Don’t You?

Pumpkin Spice OreoIf you’re into Twitter, you may have seen Pumpkin Spice Oreo trending about a week ago. My first thought was, “This better not be a joke, because that would just be cruel.”

When I was in CVS a few days ago, I sort of casually looked for them. I didn’t see any, so I asked.  I was told that they didn’t have them and wouldn’t be carrying them. *Gulp*

Yesterday in Stop & Shop, I sauntered over to the cookie aisle to catch a glimpse. Nothing. When I got home, I did a quick search and didn’t see anything on the Oreo website. Then I  searched on Twitter and found the Tweet pictured above.

September 24th is the official day! I had read some articles about how good the cookies were and mistakenly believed they were available for the general public. I guess only a special few were given the cookies in advance.

Needless to say, I am now mildly obsessed with trying them and will be looking forward to their arrival on store shelves. After writing about my search for them on Facebook, someone commented that I might need an intervention. Ha! Not quite yet.

I love all things pumpkin and pumpkin spice. Since I prefer summer, the annual arrival of these flavors infused into just about every food product almost makes me happy for the cold weather. Yeah, I said it!

This pumpkin spice latte recipe is one that I plan to try. This pumpkin crumb coffee cake would go nicely with it too!

pumpkinsNow one more thing that I’ve noticed with the pumpkin spice phenomenon is the racial tinge to it. When and why did that happenPumpkin spice is being associated with white girls.

I posted this photo to my personal Facebook wall recently. In case you don’t click over, the quote says, “if you say ‘pumpkin spice latte’ in the mirror 3 times a white girl in yoga pants will appear & tell you all her favorite things about fall.”

I re-posted it because I think it’s hilarious, but I added that it could be “any” girl. Similarly, BuzzFeed has an article called “25 Things All Basic White Girls Do During The Fall.”

Of course, first on the list is “Get on that Pumpkin Spice Latte grind.” The top comment on this post is by Nicky Watson.

Buzzfeed, girls of color could enjoy these things too you know >_> I mean what does Buzzfeed think all black girls like to do during the fall? Twerk? Sheesh.

Agreed. What about pumpkin spice makes American culture want to associate it with “girls” first of all.  Not women. Or men. Or boys. It’s a flavor people! Shouldn’t it be gender and age neutral!? Then all people of color are uniformly dismissed from the conversation.

Granted, this is just a fall flavor. But in general, when we eliminate certain people from the greater conversation, it’s never a good thing. So the next time you eat something pumpkin spice flavored, think about who else you picture consuming it and why.

*Updated 10/10/2014* I spied the cookies! I’ve had way too many cookies recently, but when I saw these Pumpkin Spice Oreos in the store today, I decided to get them. Just to follow-up this post…. So I could report back to you! They’re good! I hope you appreciate my sacrifice.

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Photo Credit: Oreo Tweet