Since it's been five minutes since summer ended, it's time for pumpkin spice to take over the world.
I guess it could be worse. I don't remember quite when this whole pumpkin thing started, but I do remember a world without pumpkin coffee. Then, it seemed like it was everywhere. It started with the doughnuts. Dunkin' Donuts must have an unholy alliance with the gourd gods, because they began foisting pumpkin coffee and goodies on us like it granted the power of flight. Pumpkin was the new bacon. Orange was the new black. (By the way, you should watch "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix; it's great).
Doughnuts, cookies, cheesecake, bread, coffee, martinis, Pringles, burgers, Pop Tarts, waffles - it just went on and on. Some hits, some misses. The coffee, teas and pastries make sense - pumpkin brings a sense of warmth and comfort on a fall day. But something so rich and spicy really isn't meant to take cocktail form. Perhaps that's why meatloaf vodka never took off.
It makes sense to have pumpkin-flavored stuff. But then came the scents, emerging from every corner of every bath and body shop. I actually found a bottle of pumpkin shampoo in the locker room at Youngstown State's gym, as if someone came to their senses during a shower, set it down, and slowly backed away, checking into Pumpkin Rehab later that day.
Pumpkin stuff tastes good. Some of it even smells good. A spice of nutmeg and the rich, smooth essence of pumpkin pie make any air a little more special.
The lovely Dana Sulonen, sports editor supreme, brought in some pumpkin spice hand soap for our office bathroom. It's heavenly, and has just the right hints of spice, smelling like actual baking pumpkin pies. But this one pumpkin candle I got in a gift basket or something I got hit in the face with the waft of melting rotten jack o'lanterns. So tread lightly, pumpkin scent aficionados.
Every local bakery, farmer's market and eatery will soon have pumpkin mania. White House Fruit Farm will be a madhouse. For once, everyone will forget about the blueberry doughnuts for five seconds. Mocha House will be Pumpkin House. Panera will be Pumpkinera. I will stop this analogy before it gets any worse.
So, from now until the day after Thanksgiving, enjoy the fruits (pumpkin's a fruit, right?) of all that pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and All Spice bring. Buy goodies local, or make your own. I made some amazing pumpkin cupcakes last year, and a pumpkin torte for Thanksgiving dinner. But if you ever catch yourself squeezing pumpkin toothpaste onto your brush, there's a bed in Pumpkin Rehab waiting for you.