Pumpkin Spice

For some, Fall is already here, for others, it may technically start on the equinox (September 22). However, everyone can tell that Fall is near when businesses start trotting out the pumpkin spice! And…along with the start of pumpkin spice season is all the hate around this fad that has been growing strong since the first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks in 2003. No amount of hate will discourage businesses from thinking of new ways to incorporate this spice into their offerings. That got me thinking about the history of this hotly debated phenomenon.

This will not be a blog that hates all over pumpkin spice, even if I was one of those who don’t particularly care for the spice combination. Why? Because the hate, like most hate, is completely unnecessary, just like the hate against the LGBTQ+ community. Not your cup of tea…fine…but leave everyone else alone with your opinions, dogma, and vitriol. I’d rather explore the rich history of pumpkin spice. Here’s what I learned:

  • In 1663 the Dutch took control of the Spice Islands and out of the war came the Dutch East India Company. All of the spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves) are native to these Southeast Asian Islands.
  • After taking control of the islands a blend similar to pumpkin spice called speculaaskruiden was born. The major difference is that cardamon and white pepper are added to this spice combo. The popularity of this particular combination of spices used in desserts led to spices moving across borders.
  • In 1791 a blend very similar to speculaaskruiden showed up in the Practice of Cookery written by a Scottish woman only known as Mrs. Frazer. She recommended that this “mixed spice” be used on fried fish and mutton chops.
  • In 1796 the combination of spices made its way to America and was featured in the first known cookbook written by an American called American Cookery by Amelia Simons. This is believed to be the cookbook with the first known pumpkin pie recipe in America that features a similar combination of spices (mace, nutmeg, and ginger). Although pumpkin was spelled, pompkin.
  • Pumpkin pie had earlier origins in Europe and made its debut in a British recipe in 1675. This recipe called “pumpion pye” used cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper.
  • In 1930 the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book had a recipe for pumpkin pie that includes cinnamon and ginger. This cookbook also has a pecan pumpkin pie recipe that called for cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
  • Pumpkin pie spice was branded by the largest spice manufacturer, McCormick in 1934 and was originally intended for pies. Several years earlier, in 1929, Libby’s a major canned food company had made it easy for people to bake pumpkin pies by offering pureed canned pumpkin. For anyone who has prepared pumpkin from the actual fruit, this was a very welcome advancement (I have actually done this).
  • Pumpkin pie spice, however, has been used in many more recipes besides pie, and McCormick published those recipes in the 60s and 70s. Some of these recipes included main dishes like Chicken and Yam skillet. Others included applesauce, buttered toast, and yams.

One of my favorite spices is cinnamon. Since this is the constant spice for all the variations of pumpkin spice, it is no wonder I love pumpkin spice anything. Yes, this is MY cup of tea. Like pumpkin spice, books can be a person’s cup of tea or not so much. As I’ve often said before, just because a book may not be my cup of tea doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it. And…this is why, like books, I prefer not to hate on something another person clearly enjoys. If my style of writing is your cup of tea, please feel free to check out my books…you know the drill…just click the links below. Don’t forget about tomorrow’s zoom call featuring the following authors, narrator, and cover artist from Affinity Rainbow Publications. Here’s the link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/4775758997?pwd=YVNjcnpwZTROUEswbzZjU1YreU96dz09

Meeting ID: 477 575 8997
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