Ask Ceil – Pumpkin Spice

evil grinning pumpkin on the shades - 2013-10-31

Dear Ceil,

I just had a pumpkin spice latte with my pumpkin spice donut, in front of my pumpkin spice candle.

I don’t have friends anymore; I only have these things that are flavored with pumpkin spice. Is that ok?


Autumnal in Austin

Dear Autumnal,

You know, when a person and a spice love each other very much… sometimes they get together and make donuts and muffins, and if they’re very lucky, coffee and cheesecake.

There are some who will say that it’s wrong. There are those who don’t appreciate our love for all things pumpkin. “Pedestrian,” they will scoff from over mugs of basil pepper tea. “Low-brow!” they will shout, as they wave their spoons of raspberry rosemary clafoutis. “Commonplace,” they will gasp, huddled in corners of French patisseries, eating their coriander-and-saffron macarons with disdain.

Perhaps they are trying to help. After all, the spices that go into Pumpkin Spice are fairly easy to come by. It’s unconscionable to pay $85 for a coffee with some cinnamon and cloves tossed in. Maybe your friends have alienated you because they hate to see you lose your house and investments over $3.85 of McCormick’s low end spice.

Or… perhaps you have been consuming things that shouldn’t have pumpkin spice in them. I mean, there are limits. There are social rules that–as humans, for God’s sake–we must abide by. So, when you come at me with pumpkin soda, or pumpkin potato chips, I’ve got to draw a social line right there. I mean, I can’t be seen with someone who chews pumpkin pie gum , or serves pumpkin pie pasta.

What if I decide to bring some of my friends to your backyard party, and as we all sit around the firepit in khakis laughing amiably as they do in all the commercials, you bring out your brand new vat of pumpkin spice hommus? How am I supposed to explain to my extremely fashionable and moderately (but not overly) amusing friends how you’ve ruined everything?

Are we supposed to just drink our pumpkin spice beer with the brown sugar and cinnamon on the rim, and be perfectly ok with that? Can we just sit by–as your friends–and watch you ruin your life?

My advice here is to assess the level and propriety of pumpkin spice in your life. Consult your psychologist or your spiritual advisor. Make sure that this autumn, pumpkin spice isn’t a crutch. Don’t let it be the only spice of your life.