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The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9

Welcome to another The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow, where I irregularly post about products made with that most extraordinary combination of flavors, pumpkin pie spice (or just “pumpkin spice”).  It’s hard to believe, but this may very well be my last TPSMF – I’ve eaten a lot of pumpkin spice stuff over the past months and lived to regret some of them, been not wowed by others, and celebrated just a few.  I’ve grown weary of sighing over another disappointing ingredients list or weak flavor and so I must lay myself down to eternal pumpkin spice rest. All good things must come to an end, and frankly, I think I’ve more than exhausted the topic anyway, plus I’m sure you’re tired of listening to me hypocritically preach against manufactured food.  Like getting that last filling at the dentist’s (or having them pull that final tooth), let’s take this ride one more time – but chin up! One of these pumpkin spice was even pretty good!

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Pumpkin Noosa Yogurt

Is Noosa sold everywhere?  It started off as a Colorado brand and I don’t know if it’s reached beyond these Blucifer-guarded realms or not.  According to the Noosa website, I learned that it’s based on an Australian recipe for yogurt that was transplanted to Boulder CO by a transplant Aussie.  I also learned apparently that Australians love filling up their yogurt with a bunch of thickening agents to make it a smooth as lube, which doesn’t really fit my definition of yogurt (maybe “Yoplait”, but I wouldn’t call that yogurt either), but so it goes.  Maybe that website is just grating on me – the page for this seasonal yogurt starts off with a cartoon word balloon is coming from a tub of the stuff, reading “i’m a country yumkin!”in all lowercase letters for crying out loud.

To be fair though, Noosa is generally good tasting “stuff,” partly because it’s rather high fat – one tub of this will net you 18% of your fat for the day according to those government guidelines (please get out and don your tinfoil hats now) and 35% of your saturated fats.  Real pumpkin does show up, but I can’t tell you if the usual four pumpkin spices do (the ingredients only mention “Natural Flavors” and “”Spices”, which is just the final ingredient in the “Cream Cheese” sub-list) unless you also want to count the honey.1  But I can tell you that “Carob Bean Gum,” “Pectin,” “Locust Bean Gum,” and “Kosher Gelatin” were used – a step that somehow didn’t get included in the diagram on their ‘how it’s made’ webpage. But the company does recycle their water, don’t use GMOs, help out bees, and see that some of their cardboard gets shredded into bedding for animals all across the nation, including an adorable looking tiger, so I guess I can’t stay too mad at them.  But I can point out that this didn’t taste much like a pumpkin pie. Like so many of these entries, it’s going to end with “I bet I could just sprinkle some pumpkin pie dry spices into this and make it five times as pumpkin pie-like.”

365 Everyday Value Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Sandwich Cremes

So I guess “sandwich cremes” translates into “like an Oreo” now, huh?  That’s cool. But think Oreos here, but better, and with pumpkin spice.  These cookies are again not like super admirable as far as their ingredients go, but they sure do taste good.  The pumpkin-spiced cookies crumble pleasantly rather than snapping into crude chunks like an Oreo overly cohesive sandwich cookies, and carry enough of their own flavor (also unlike an Oreo) that they’d even be worth eating alone, while the white creme filling between them introduces a sweet fat to carry it along.  I don’t need (more) cookies in my life, but I don’t regret picking these up at all. Now keep them out of my kitchen because I can’t sit peacefully in my house without eating at least two.

Hood (brand) Pumpkin Eggnog

I bought this once, about a month and a half ago and gave it to my fiance who didn’t grimace like I did when I drank it.  The real pumpkin aside, this is everything wrong with pumpkin spice stuff, the “Natural & Artificial Flavors” do not well stand-in for real “aromatic pumpkin pie spices” as the website described (unless maybe you like nutmeg and …  something), the high fructose sugar is the second ingredient and it also has three different thickeners in it. Rereading the ingredients list though, it does have egg yolks, which are traditional for eggnog, and oh hey, there’s a bit of ground cinnamon, at the very tail end of the list, down where I couldn’t taste it.  I really didn’t like it, I wouldn’t use it as a coffee creamer in someone else’s coffee. Which I guess makes me a hypocrite since I gave it to my fiance. Yikes, I hope she doesn’t read this. Still, even she said this was just “OK.” And here I am now talking about eggnog more than pumpkin spice. Must… resist…

Silly Cow Farms Chocolate Pumpkin Spice

It might not seem like a good pairing with pumpkin spice, and it’s not seen often, but we already know that chocolate goes well with cinnamon and with ginger,2 so how bad could this be?  Turns out it’s pretty good overall, brewing up a reasonably quality hot chocolate with a pumpkin spice aftertaste… if you know ahead of time that it’s pumpkins spice, otherwise it comes across as just a spiced hot chocolate. Maybe this has something to do with being made with decent ingredients like 2% jersey cow milk rather than, say, hydrogenated oils (looking at you, Swiss Miss).  So this still counts as enough of a win, although you could mix this stuff yourself like I did when I was a kid. I mean, here’s the ingredient list: NATURAL CANE SUGAR, DUTCHED PROCESSED COCOA (WITH ALKALI),3 CINNAMON, GINGER, NUTMEG, ALLSPICE, CLOVES AND NATURAL PUMPKIN FLAVOR. Knowing what sort of flavor pumpkin has, which is to say basically none, you could skip that single one, just mix up some cocoa, sugar and powdered milk that you may already own, toss in some pumpkin pie spice and call it a day.  But the Silly Cow (“silliness by nature,”) branded bottle  it with it’s rubbery cap resembles a short old-fashioned milk bottle and is reusable, so it might be fun to have a that in your kitchen for… whatever you might use it for. Maybe more hot cocoa mix that you’ve mixed yourself.

365 Everyday Value Pumpkin Spice Latte Popcorn

and

365 Everyday Value Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites

I bought these two on the same day, which was a while ago, and don’t recall them too much so I’ll group them together here if no one minds.  No? OK then. Bleah.

I don’t know exactly what flavors would be used to make ‘latte,’ but it seems like coffee would obviously be one, and I don’t think I need coffee popcorn – the flavors sure didn’t pair up well with the apple filling inside the little pillows of the “Bites” either.  So when you start off from “pumpkin spice” and end up with “latte apple bites,” you know you’ve lost your way. I saw a few other “pumpkin spice latte” flavored things in Whole Foods that day and based on these two, I’m glad I skipped them. The Whole Foods flavor fairy must have mixed up a big heaping bowl of “pumpkin spice latte” and then flitted about their eco-conscious warehouses, sprinkling it everywhere in hopes it would bring a festive holiday sparkle to everything, but instead it turned out to be a curse.  Somehow it seems that coffee just ruins anything pumpkin spiced and vice versa.

I didn’t keep the wrappers around to check the ingredient lists, but I did find them online, and other than the notable lack of coffee (say whaaaat? – unless it’s hidden in those two instances of “NATURAL FLAVOR”), I don’t think it really matters as they were both off-putting.  My fiance liked them, her mother didn’t, and I didn’t, so I’m clearly in the majority here.

Frosted MiniWheats pumpkin spice

“Perfect for Big Days in Autumn, this delicious fall favorite weaves together the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger with layers of wheat.”  Now I want to know when the smaller days of autumn are, what constitutes a “big day” for autumn in the first place, and where did all that warmth of those spices go?  Buying these did not make for a big day,as there’s no big pumpkin spice flavor to them, so at least did get an answer to what makes for a small day in autumn constitutes.  They’re still decent enough, I mean they quickly become little soggy pillows that nevertheless still manage to retain themselves in milk, and that’s fine as I like soggy cereal – it’s like oatmeal but cold! – but I wasn’t fooled by the orange coloring added to the tiny frosting stripes, that wiley pumpkin spice had evaded me once again.  But perhaps to make up for that, Frosted Mini Wheats are also made with (beef) gelatin, which is part of this complete breakfast right? OK, maybe I am a bit disappointed here on all fronts then.

Ѽ~~Pop Quiz Time!~~Ѽ

That’s right, get out your pencils, it’s time to take stock and see what you haven’t learned, consider this your pumpkin spice finals.  Don’t worry though, it’s only a true or false test, that gives you a reasonable chance of scoring 50%! Once you’re finished with it or the alarm bell sounds, please put your heads down on your desk and quietly ask yourself, “why?… why?

TRUE OR FALSE

  1. The four pumpkin pie spices are cloves, galangal, shrimp paste and menthol, which sometimes includes feta cheese for a fifth flavor.
  2. Attempting to create your own enjoyably pumpkin spiced foods using the dry pie spice is doomed to failure and may cause temporary blindness, fatigue and swollen extremities.
  3. Cloves are nature’s spiky good luck charms and will be sorely missed if they’re not included in pumpkin spice flavors.  Their flavor can’t be too strong and should ideally linger at the back of the throat for hours afterwards.
  4. Artificial flavors are preferable to the real thing because and they’re often much tastier, everyone liked ingesting what is potentially a petroleum by-product, and the manufacturing company passes on the savings to you.
  5. Combining pumpkin pie spice and coffee creates such beauty that unicorns weep.
  6. Feel free to ignore the ingredients list when buying a pumpkin spice product lest you miss out on something like pumpkin spice Twinkies which are made with hydrogenated “ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE SHORTENING.”
  7. Never drink any alcoholic pumpkin spice drinks unless it’s a beer; set them on a hard flat surface, light fuse, and get away.
  8. Also, using pumpkin pie spice alcoholic drinks to create mixed drinks is just poor decision-making that may result in fines and imprisonment.
  9. The pumpkins spice flavor in pumpkin spice cereals will not fade away like dreams in milk’s harsh morning light.
  10. Pumpkin spice cereals have a scientifically proven track record of curing the minor aches and pains resulting from pumpkin spice withdrawal.
  11. My fiance has terrible, terrible taste in pumpkin spice products (and possibly romantic partners).

Yep, every one one of those is FALSE FALSE FALSE,4 well done!  Now go, take your pumpkin spice diplomas and scatter-clatter like the autumn leaves capering down the street as the grey storm clouds of Christmas roll in.  

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Megara Justice Machine stands on the school steps to call after you, “wait a minute! You didn’t learn how World War II ended. … We won!!”  Now maybe he can get back to writing about cats or neutron stars something. But hey, if you’d care to read more of his columns about pumpkin spice, go up to the top and type that very phrase into the Avocado search feature, as there are too many of them to bother linking individually any more, even if this should be for the last time.