The Great Pumpkin Spice Debate

Shannon Proudfoot, Pumpkin Spice Correspondent, Discusses the Pros and Cons of Everyone’s Favorite Fall Spice Blend

It’s almost hard to remember now that pumpkin spice is an actual spice mix (of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) used in pumpkin pie due to how ubiquitous the fake version has become, thanks to the popularity of Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. . Once a harbinger of a cult-favorite fall, pumpkin spice has morphed into a season in its own right and, in a way, a lifestyle of sorts.


It’s incredibly delicious

Have you ever tried these things? It’s great: the value of a sweet birthday cake, spicy enough to keep it from being cloying. Okay, that’s a blatant lie, it’s like eating a can of frosting with a stick, but that’s nice.

The antidote to sucking

Pumpkin spice latte is a hug in a cup, and we could all wear hot stuffed animals right now. Let’s never get too cool to be basic, if the basics are wonderful. (Yes, a couple of smart Uggs wrote this, why do you ask?)

Full disclosure

Your correspondent is writing this with a pumpkin spice latte candle glowing on his desk, so it’s not a disinterested party. But it smells of blanket scarves, tastefully arranged hay bales, and the blind hope of a full school year.


Why must everything be one thing?

Pumpkin spice spam, Kraft dinner, hot dogs, deodorant, doggie treats, Pringles, various permutations of wicked breakfast cereals, and * gagging * hummus prove we’ve tried to fly too close to the sun.

The Cadbury Mini-Eggs Problem

Those things used to be available only at Easter, and this limited-time quality made them special. Now, they are everywhere all the time, and that ubiquity has cost them some sparkle. Pumpkin spice is targeted the same way.

Whatever it is, it’s not PS

The taste and aroma we accept as “pumpkin spice” is nothing more than a fun house mirror mock, a gooey mix of potpourri, marshmallows and whatever smells like a scented dollar store bookmark labeled like “pumpkin”.

This article appears in print in the November 2021 issue of Maclean’s magazine with the title “‘The Debate: Pumpkin Spice'”. Subscribe to the monthly print magazine here.

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