19 October, 2015
Pumpkins, the fruit of the Cucurbita pepo plant, are fine as food. Baked, in a pie, whatever. In the rush to capitalize on Pumpkin Spice Everything, though, factory-food manufacturers have released an increasing number of pumpkin-flavored candy every fall for the past few years. Inveitably, most of it is terrible.
The “pumpukin pudding flavor” of Japanese Kit Kats (above) suffers from a glut of artificial vanilla. Even taking into consideration that the Japanese “pumpkin” is actually a kabocha squash (a cultivar of Cucurbita maxima, which is a different species entirely) they’re inedible. Ghirardelli Pumpkin Spice Caramel Chocolates ruin the simple pleasure of milk chocolate with a soapy nutmeg-laden center. And the flavor of Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Mallows can best be described as the color – not the flavor – “orange.”
The worst of this year’s pumpkin horror, as far as I’m concerned, is the Hostess Pumpkin Spice Twinkie. It marries the traditional already-stale taste of the Twinkie’s outer cake with a chemical-scented toothpaste filling seemingly designed to impress upon you the idea that, yes, you are killing yourself by eating this very food. No doubt the people who were outside holding signs bemoaning the Twinkie shutdown a few years back are gleefully slamming these one after another into their throats, if they’re still breathing. Cake, frosting, and pumpkins can be delicious, but the combination of all three in a product that leads you to question if any of us on this doomed sphere deserve to have lived in the first place is as good an illustration of man’s inhumanity to man as any other.