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The Reason Why We Love Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING

posted: 09/21/15
by: Mara Betsch
Pumpkin Spice Coffee
iStock

As soon as Labor Day arrives, so do bins upon bins of pumpkin products. The beloved (and sometimes mocked) pumpkin spice latte hits Starbucks menus, pumpkin puree is suddenly widely abundant, and there's even pumpkin beer on draught. Though the idea of using pumpkin in fall recipes is nothing new (pumpkin pie has been around for centuries!), it's possible that we may have hit a pumpkin saturation point. Are there any foods spared from the inevitable pumpkin spice flavor option anymore?

So where did it come from?

AP dug deep to find the history of pumpkin spice and why we're obsessed. According to their research, the first reference to pumpkin spice was in "American Cookery," often believed to be our first cookbook, in 1796. And it's been on the up and up since then. McCormick & Company launched a pumpkin pie spice in 1934, however, it wasn't until Starbucks launched their beverage in 2003 that people really embraced this flavor combo. Pumpkin-flavored items jumped from reaching 6 to 14.5 percent of U.S. restaurant menus from 2005 to 2015, according to Datassentials.

And why do we love it?

So what's with our passion for pumpkin spice? According to noted pumpkin expert Cindy Ott and author of "Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon," it is a nod to simpler times. She told AP: "It represents a sense of goodness, natural abundance and old values that people think are good." During the Industrial Revolution, Americans wanted to reconnect with nature, and maybe this is just the tech-savvy generation's way of being nostalgic (because nothing tastes more like home and family than a money-making giant brewing you a generic latte?).

Though we admit to partaking in this flavor-combo, maybe it's time for something new? We think apple and lavender, salted caramel and cranberry, bourbon pecan, butterscotch and peanut butter, and pear and cinnamon are ready for the limelight. What about you?