The Perils of Pumpkin Spice
Your pumpkin spice latte addiction may be preventing you from home
ownership. Like the Millennials with their daily dependence on avocado toast
hindering their ability to save for a down payment, pumpkin spice latte
connoisseurs might be at risk, too. If only they cut back on their consumption of
avocados and their beloved pumpkin spice lattes (now referred to as PSLs), they’d
be able to afford a home just like the boomers before them. JK! I jest.
Pumpkin Spice Latte season (or fall as it’s also known) is here. It used to be a
nip in the air that indicated fall is on its way. Not anymore. Now it‘s your first PSL
purchase posted to your Instagram account.
It’s not just the PSLs. It’s pumpkin spice everything.
A recent trip to a regional grocery chain favored by Millennials and soccer moms alike had my senses spinning. Not only was the smell of pumpkin spice a waft, the barrage of pumpkin-
spiced flavored everything was overwhelming. And weird. Waffles, pancakes, bagels
and donuts. Ice cream, cream cheese, butters and breads. Chips and salsa, noodles
and pasta sauce. Potato chips and chewing gum. Even classic Candy Corn and the
liqueur Kahlua is getting in on the seasonal food trend. That’s just wrong IMHO. Oh,
and let’s not forget the body deodorant and dog treats. Seriously?
Just so you know, true pumpkin spice is a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg,
dry ginger, and cloves. What our palette perceives as pumpkin spice in a PSL and
other pumpkin spice specialties is actually a synthetic version of chemicals found
naturally in pumpkins. This version tricks your brain into thinking whatever
concoction you’re consuming is pumpkin.
So about that down payment on a house. The iconic Starbucks PSL drink
costs $4.25. Realtor.com calculated how many PSLs you’d need to abstain from to
save towards home ownership. In the Bay Area where the average home commands
$920,000 you’d need to skip a latte a day for 59 years to make the $184,000 down
payment. But who’s counting.
I’m not sure pumpkin spice will ever return to it humble roots reflecting the
autumnal blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and nothing more, but there
is no denying a PSL is delicious. So drink up!
Or simply make your own tasty PSL using my copycat recipe and bring on autumn!
The iconic seasonal treat prepared at home with just pennies on the dollar. And pure
deliciousness without the artificial flavors and colors.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
1 and ½ cups milk
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend
1 cup coffee, hot and strongly brewed
sugar, to taste
whipped cream and a dash of ground nutmeg, for garnish
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree,
and brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.
3. Divide between two coffee mugs and stir in the hot coffee.
4. Add sugar, to taste, and dollop with whipped cream and nutmeg, if desired.