Pumpkin Everything Now, Please


Once a year, there’s a glorious time; mostly it’s the month of November but this year the chilly, crisp season’s starting earlier than usual. It’s the time when the swirling winds of autumn cause me to break out that over-sized fuzzy auburn sweater I love, and more than that, my taste buds crave pumpkin.

Pumpkin everything, now please.

I sip on pumpkin lattes with cinnamon sprinkled on the foamy top in a heart shape. I see the small pumpkins at the supermarket and cradle them like pumpkin babies, cooing and pinching their bumps and curves. I see a full-grown one carved to look like the old man from ‘UP!’ and I feel compelled to BBM a million pictures of it to everyone I know with a dippy caption like, “UP-MPKIN! Get it?! So cute, omg.”

At the bar, I drink cold pumpkin ale, my chilly fingers against the frosted glass. It’s frigid outside and the beer isn’t steaming, but for some reason, the pumpkin flavor warms my belly, heart and my toes in my furry comfortable-but-ugly boots. If I was the kind of city gal who sipped cocktails, I’d order a pumpkin-sloshed concoction with tiny candy-corn pumpkins poking out like martini olives.

For breakfast? Pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin muffins. This new cereal I just invented called “Pumpkin Puffs.” They’re little crunchy orange and green balls that taste like pumpkins. I could put them in cinnamon milk or eat them raw from the ceramic mug I painted that time me and my old roommate got wine-drunk and went ballistic at Color Me Mine.

And oh, where do we even start on dessert? Pumpkin ice cream with Oreo cookie chunks, sweet pumpkin cheesecake, creamy pumpkin cupcakes — and the classic beauty that is the old-fashioned pumpkin pie.

I look back fondly on the Halloween I was a baby when my parents dressed me in a pumpkin costume — orange onesie and green stem cap looped from the top of my head to under my chubby chin. While I loved that costume, I have to say it was a dangerous choice; I can’t believe they took me out on the streets looking so tasty.

I’m not even born and bred of this autumnal stock. I grew up in South Florida with banana trees in my backyard. The only time I ever saw a pumpkin was when my mom rented the It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! VHS from the public library.

But I was spellbound when I headed up north for college. For the first time in my life, the trees were flecked with color like a van Gogh painting and I could practically smell the change of seasons. My love of pumpkins was sprouted. I fell for fall.

This time of year, nothing beats a hot cup of tea and a pumpkin pastry. But this spiced-up season makes my stomach and mind collaborate on some pretty cracked-out ideas. Pumpkin enchiladas. Pumpkin spaghetti. Pumpkin macaroni and pumpkin cheese. Googling these combos shows that all three exist. Top Chef: Pumpkins Edition. That TV studio would smell like my version of heaven.

Yep. This time of year, I’m totally Team Pumpkin. I’ve got an orange and brown striped Hogwarts scarf and I’m waving a pumpkin flag I sewed myself like the Betsy Ross of deliciousness.

Unfortunately, the window for pumpkin season is a small one. Feeling the crisp air on your neck as you nuzzle into a thick wool scarf puts a rare perfect button on a warm cup of pumpkin-spiced coffee.

Let’s all enjoy the deep maroons and burnt oranges and pie-crust browns of the season because right now, it’s pumpkin everything now, please.

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image – Rich Bowen