Autumn is here. Auburn leaves coat the grey concrete, people are thrilled they can wear their favourite coats again and no one is shaving anything. But the most surefire way to tell the halcyon days of sunshine pints are over is when people start drinking pumpkin spice lattes in their droves.
Ever since Starbucks starting selling their autumnal special, pumpkin spice has laid claim to the part of the year between "the day you decide to buy a scarf" and "that point when everyone starts mulling alcohol". But we want more. We want all of our food to taste like pumpkin spice, not just our coffee.
So to get the process started we took a few of the country's favourite dishes and drinks and added a load of pumpkin spice to them to see if they could become autumn's next big thing. A bit like the cinnamon challenge and a bit like journalism, but probably neither.
A Pumpkin Spice Cuppa
What was it? You know what tea is. It's what Americans think we shower in, which we don't. But it is probably the country's favourite way of ingesting liquid. So this was that, but with two big teaspoons of pumpkin spice mixed in.
How did it taste? I think we can all agree that, actually, builder's tea tastes like sipping from a scummy pond. I don't drink tea unless a stranger has accidentally made me one, so the novelty of the warm pumpkin spice made that lukewarm dish-water vibe slightly less abhorrent to me, which was nice.
Rating: 5/10, because it's still just a shit cup of tea.
Chicken Tikka Pumpkin Masala
What was it? A depressing chicken tikka masala microwave meal complete with pilau rice. One of those things you buy when you want "something different" but still aren't very adventurous and don't know how to cook. And a lot of pumpkin spice.
How did it taste? Surprisingly I thought the pumpkin spice would hardly be noticeable in this one because it already has actual spices in it. But the pumpkin spice was present and actually added a nice cinnamon-y taste to the whole thing. I felt like the cook within me had truly been woken up. This is cooking, right? It actually tasted like a meal I'd like to have. The rice, however, tasted like dirt when the spice was added to it.
Pumpkin Spice Kebab
What was it? I'd think you've probably got the gist: it's the thing named above, with a lot of pumpkin spice thrown on it.
How did it taste? If I was drunk I wouldn't notice the difference. The salad, the dubious meat, they all taste the same. One of those things you always regret ordering the morning after when you wake up and your tongue feels like you've vigorously licked a pavement. Unfortunately, the aftertaste of this, again, is a bit like dirt. And you feel it right in the back of your nostrils, creeping into your brain. I wouldn't mind it if it was given to me at a point in the night when I didn't understand the difference between my hand and my face.
Pumpkin Spice Pork Pie
What was it? A bog standard pork pie, microwaved, with a ton of pumpkin spice thrown into a single bite. I must say, microwaving it really added to the awfulness.
How did it taste? I don't think I've ever seen an actual British person eat a pork pie. And now I've tried one, I know why. The meat is disgusting and rubbery, the crust is way too much and it LEAKS YELLOW GOO when you heat it up. It made me actually gag as soon as I looked at it. And then I took a bite, and it was just as completely and utterly disgusting as I'd imagined. If anything, the pumpkin spice helped because it distracted from the actual taste of the pie, which is the taste of actual death.
Rating: Negative billion out of ten.
Pumpkin Spice Victoria Sponge
What: Two layers of white sponge, one layer of cream, one layer of jam and one layer of brown spicy dust.
How did it taste? I accidentally inhaled before I took my first bite, so the entirety of my throat was coated and dry. The spice eventually mixed in with the white cream paste to made it taste less sickly sweet and more like the cake had a purpose. It was one of those underdog Bake Off cakes inspired by the contestant's recent Mediterranean holiday. It was a fusion cake.
Rating: 8/10 because I was hungry and it was edible, but probably more like 3/10 for people with more discerning palates.
Pumpkin Spice Pint
What was it? You know what it was.
How did it taste? I thought this would be one of the grossest ones, bar the pork pie, but actually it didn't taste like much. It could pass for a very sub-par pretentious craft beer describing itself as having "hints of autumn" in its flavour profile. The aftertaste is again a bit odd, kind of what I imagine it would taste like if you licked your grandma's spice cupboard.
Rating: 10/10, would sell well; 4/10, isn't great to ingest.
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