As the summer floats farther and farther from our sights and memories and we enter the dark days of winter, companies and foodservers alike are parading out their seasonal offerings. A service, they are enabling us to gain 40 pounds to keep us warm in the dank days ahead.
One of my favorite of these one-time-a-year-only themes is PUMPKIN.
Seriously, I can't get enough of it. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Pumpkin cupcakes from Billy's. Those white chocolate pumpkin cookies co-blogger X blogged about a few weeks back. Pumpkin cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. Pumpkin donuts and muffins at Dunkin Donuts. Pumpkin pies and tortes.
It's amazing how many things pumpkins can merge with and result in absurd deliciousness.
But here's what I don't get: Pumpkins are NASTY. Seriously, have you cut one open in the last few decades? I remember making Jack O Lanterns with my family and cringing at the rank odors that curdled out from the smiling orifices. A pungent combination of hobo puke, day-old cheese (one that doesn't improve with age) and unwashed gym socks.
How do they do it? How does something so turgid become so very tantalyzing? It never fails to mystify me. It makes me think of carrot cake - such a delicious delicacy derived from a faintly flavored vegetable (though the cream cheese icing and the fake frosting carrots no doubt help guide it along the path from the dark side).
Of course, pumpkin season is drawing to a close and we are getting into the wintry specials. These mainly consist of ginger, gingerbread, egg nog, and all of those other canisters of spices on the rack that you don't even know why they're there.
It's too bad that pumpkins don't taste awesome on their own, though. It would probably be a lot healthier to spoon the innards out and eat them straight rather than consume the frosted, cream-filled transports we depend on.