Of all the things to get worked up about in this world, pumpkin spice would not seem to be a natural target of national outrage.
But look out! As pumpkin spice invades shampoo, Blue Diamond almonds, duvet covers, mustache wax, and other innocent products, backlash is growing.
There are #AntiPumpkinSpice memes. Rumors of a pumpkin spice-free zone. Accusations — and an entire scholarly paper — arguing that pumpkin spice lattes are a sign of white girl privilege.
What has pumpkin spice ever done to us? Oh, let us count the crimes:
Number one: Because pumpkin spice latte’s arrival signals the start of fall, its appearance at Starbucks (and elsewhere) is what makes summer end. That snow you’re dreading? It’s pumpkin spice’s fault.
As Instagrammer @lizaroo wrote on Sept. 1: “Sept. 22 is the first day of fall. Not today. Not tomorrow. Put down the pumpkin and stop being a life ruiner. P.S. Pumpkin spice causes constipation.”
Number two (related to number one): With its fall — and hence holiday — association, pumpkin spice makes people think of Thanksgiving, which stresses them out because they’re not ready to face their families. Pumpkin spice is a trigger.
Number three: Pumpkin Spice Derangement Syndrome is less about pumpkin spice than about the alleged lifestyle of its fans (think yoga pants). An attack on pumpkin spice is an attack on Lululemon.
But tyrannical as pumpkin spice may be, even haters have to acknowledge the important role it plays in our society. Americans need a villain. There’s a slot for it. If pumpkin spice were a person, it would be Ivanka Trump.
And even as a menacing cloud of cinnamon-clove-ginger-nutmeg-allspice hangs over the city, another threat looms. “Maple is a trending flavor,” a Dunkin’ Donuts spokeswoman told the Globe.
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There’s a white kidney bean with a maroon marking resembling a soldier at attention. It’s aptly named Soldier. The red beans with beige strips are called King of the Early, and indeed, the crop matures early in the season. Have you heard of Jacob’s Cattle and Yellow Eye? They are also among the 20 types of dry beans Charley Baer cultivates on 40 acres in South Berwick, Maine — many are heirloom varieties indigenous to New England and were favorites in Colonial times. Marfax, tasty for soup, and Scarlet Beauty, deep red with beige strips and great for chili, are other unique choices — all packaged in one-pound bags labeled Baer’s Best ($4 to $7). Some look as if they were artistically painted and are rarely, if ever, found at markets. “People have forgotten about many of these because they’re not available. That’s were I come in,” says Baer, one of the few commercial dry bean growers in the Northeast. “I don’t have a lot of competition.” The beans he now sells were harvested and then dried in the fall, and because they are fresh they don’t need to pre-soak and cook relatively quickly. “Dried beans don’t last forever,” Baer says, which is contrary to what many believe. When bags of beans languish on supermarket shelves, they dry out and seem as if they can simmer forever and never soften. A retired chemist, Baer worked for Thermo Fisher Scientific for most of his career testing drinking water and water at plants all over the world and grew his crops part time. Now it’s his full-time job. You might find him and his wife, Carol, selling their wares at a farmer’s market. “I have so many colorful varieties for people to look at,” Baer says. “Sometimes they’ll look at them all but then just buy a bag of kidney beans.” Available at Siena Farms South End, 106 Waltham St., Boston, 617-422-0030; A. Russo & Sons, 560 Pleasant St., Watertown, 617-923-1500; Volante Farms, 294 Forest St., Needham, 781-444-2351: Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant St., Lexington, 781-862-3900; Idylwilde Farms, 366 Central St., Acton, 978-263-5943, and a guest vendor at Cambridge, Somerville, and Wayland farmers’ markets, or go to www.baersbest.com.Continue reading »
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