Starbucks dropped its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte on Tuesday — its earliest release ever — and introduced the new Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, which means fall has officially started, despite what the meteorological calendar says.
If there’s anything we can agree on, it’s that pumpkin spice is basic. But that hasn’t stopped brands from getting bolder and more courageous with their autumn-forward offerings. Year after year, we’re bombarded with pumpkin-spiced offerings from pancakes (perfectly cool) to Spam (really?).
As heat waves scorched parts of the U.S. in mid-August, Spam announced that it waspartaking in the seasonal flavor trend by offering pumpkin-flavored meat in a can. Spam, which is already-cooked pork with a slightly salty taste, will reportedly come in a new pumpkin spice flavor, which the brand jokingly teased back in 2017.
We get it. Pumpkin spice reminds us of the things we love most: sweater weather, changing leaves, hot tea on rainy mornings, cuddling with bae, football season, Thanksgiving, Uggs.
But enough is enough, folks.
Not everyone needs to hop on the pumpkin spice train. Sometimes, it’s OK to let the train pass. Miss the train. Just let it go.
We should’ve drawn the line years ago and maybe it wouldn’t have come to this. Spam would’ve stayed at the station and we wouldn’t have had to have this conversation. But alas, here we are.
More: Pumpkin spice season is here
What is pumpkin spice anyway?
We’re not denying that pumpkin spice tastes good. Yes, it may be basic, but a little basic-ness never hurt anybody. Being basic doesn’t negate that pumpkin spice tastes good.
It’s a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves, and those spices together are delicious when used in the right types of food.
But, it doesn’t belong in everything.
Here are some foods that we like with pumpkin spice. The others? Run as fast as you can from a pumpkin-spiced abomination like Spam.
Bring on the baked goods and hot drinks
Baked goods are generally a green light for all things pumpkin-flavored. Pumpkin spice french toast? Good. Pumpkin spice bagels? Beautiful. Pumpkin spice muffins? More please. There is very little room for error when pumpkin-spicing things like pastries and bread-adjacent items.
Pumpkin spice is also perfectly fine in coffee creamers, teas, ice creams and we’ll even throw in cream cheese. Go ahead and smear some pumpkin spiced cream cheese on your pumpkin spiced bagel and down it with a PSL latte. We won’t judge.
More: Starbucks’ pumpkin drinks, including new Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, arrive Tuesday
Cereals, chicken wings and protein powder are a big fat ‘No!’
What we won’t stand for, however, is pumpkin spice cereals, chicken wings and chocolates (we’re looking at you, Kit Kat). And as much as we love Oreos and their endless new flavors, it’s a hard pass for pumpkin spice cookies. We refuse to support things like pumpkin spice cookie spread, yogurt or peanuts.
Don’t even get us started on pumpkin spiced protein powder. Yes, that’s a thing, too.
Pumpkin spice isn’t a condiment like ketchup or barbecue sauce; you can’t just slap it on anything you want and call it a “preference.” If you have any respect for the art that is food and the season that is fall, please limit this flavor to things it would only enhance and complement — like a warm bowl of oatmeal. Pumpkin spice Pop Tarts, peanut butter and marshmallows? It’s a “no” from us.
Thanks for coming to our Ted talk.
Contributing: Dalvin Brown