Once upon a time, there was a very sad world in which the pumpkins never ripened. Oh, you could plant the seeds, and watch the small shoots come up from the ground. Toward the end of summer, pumpkins would begin to sprout from the dying flowers. But no matter what you tried, you could never get those green pumpkins to turn orange enough to eat.
Now the UK doesn’t really have a pumpkin ripening problem, and they have certainly have aspects of fall that are special: trees turning orange and yellow, weather cold enough to justify wearing gloves and a scarf, lots of Halloween candy in Tesco and Sainsbury’s. But no pumpkin, which happens to be my favorite part of the autumn tradition.
In the States, you know it’s autumn when stores start selling pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, even pumpkin teas. But not in England. For whatever reason, pumpkin has not become part of the cultural tradition of the season. Sure, right before Halloween, there are a few pumpkins in the grocery store for kids to slice open and carve funny, silly or scary faces onto. But as for buying other pumpkin products—even canned pumpkin puree—forget about it. It won’t happen.
Can you tell that I’m slightly bitter about the subject? I love pumpkin-flavored food and drink. It’s one of my only consolations every year when the days start to get colder and darker.
And now I go onto Pinterest or Chocolate Covered Katie (the one and only food blog I follow), and drool longingly over the pumpkin muffin, pie and ice cream recipes.
Enter Starbucks—born and raised in the US and now established internationally. I’ve mostly avoided it because I’m in England to experience England, not a US store trying to be British. I’ve mostly gone to small local cafes for my chai teas and mochas.
There is one good thing about Starbucks being an American company—they serve pumpkin spice lattes. Frankly, I was shocked when I saw the advertisement outside the shop, because someone had told me that even UK Starbucks didn’t serve pumpkin. Whether that person was wrong, or the coffee company just started selling pumpkin products in the UK, I was thrilled. I got my first taste of pumpkin this season, and it felt like home.
Thank you, Starbucks. I am so glad that you’ve been able to cater to my pumpkin craving.