Soapbox

Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Turn! Turn! Turn!

The season is upon us once again, Pumpkin Spiced Latte, a.k.a. “FFS, it’s just nutmeg!”, has arrived. For some, it is an anxiously awaited moment that makes everything in their lives a little more golden. For others it’s a period of unpleasant surprises as much loved flavors are subjected to sudden assaults by nutmeg. Either way, I love it! Not the nutmeg, but the seasonality of it all.

For tens of thousands of years we have been driven by a combination of scarcity and the seasonal rhythms of nature. Now we live in a modern world of homogeneous plenty that inexplicably leave us feeling empty. It is no surprise that many of us latch on to the artificial scarcity and rhythm of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte. I am immune to its spicy siren call, but do fall prey to the McRib every year. (I just know next time it will be as fabulous as I remember from childhood. It wasn’t this year, or the year before that, but next year will be different.)

I don’t think it really matters whether the marketing machines of large corporations are exploiting or serving our needs, those needs are being met, at least a little bit.  So I say if it’s the best you can do, then jump on the bandwagon and enjoy a Pumpkin Spiced Latte while you can. The scarcity might be artificial, but the Fall season and the feelings it brings are real.

If you can, though, go one step further and join a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.  You’ll probably get things like super-sweet late season grapes, bursting with the sugars they have created by soaking in the sun for months, the taste of summer captured and brought to your lips with every fruit.  Then fall squash, winter greens, tender spring vegetables, and the cycle goes on, each season bringing it’s own unique pattern of tastes and textures that will immerse you in the rhythms of the natural world. Make a pumpkin pie!

To quote Pete Seeger (and King Solomon), “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Well, it’s fall, and that makes it Pumpkin Spiced Latte season. Rather than rail against it, trying to fight millennia of basic human nature, just steer into the slide and embrace the season.

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