Here Comes Johnny Pumpkinseed


by Bernie Keating

punching up Wikipedia since 1885

IT SEEMS LIKE less or more than a month ago (depending on when and if you read this) that you were shipping your children off to schools you and your spouse couldn’t agree upon (then threatening each other with divorce until you finally settled your petty grievances) when you suddenly noticed that the children were out of the house for large parts of the day. Yep, that was September, and it was glorious.

But, another yep, now it’s October. The month when every morsel of food you eat inexplicably tastes like pumpkin.

With the kids gone, the house quiet, your spouse probably in Cabo with his “buddy,” you’re left alone with your annual or perhaps perennial Octoberthought: “Oh no. . . the pumpkins are coming.” And not just Bob and Lena Pumpkin who run the homeowners’ association. Much worse. October pumpkins.

At the stroke of 12-ish on October 1 (and sometimes weeks before), pumpkins are suddenly everywhere. In your coffee. In your food. On your porch. In your hair. The pies, the lattes, the seeds, the o’lanterns. There’s no escaping them. It’s like something out of a M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie. “I see pumpkins!” The twist is, kid, we all do.

Theories run rampant and recklessly through the streets as to why this is. We here at “The Lab” (on weekends, “The Tiki Lab”) consulted our crack team of pumpkin professionals. Professionals with a fondness for pumpkin crack. Here’s the net-net result-result.

Pumpkins are one of the most popular crops in the United States, somewhere in between wheat and bumper. 1.5 billion pounds or 680,000 "tonnes" (the E and one of the Ns are silent) of pumpkins are produced each year. So you see, annually we’re outnumbered. We never stood a chance. So let’s all just go back to our seats and try to remain calm.

You'll be surprised – perhaps alarmed – to learn that pumpkins produce both a male and female flower, which okay, yeah, but they just self-identify as squash. Why so judgey?

Honeybees play a significant role in pumpkin fertilization. Meaning they’ve developed a mobile app called “Pumpkinder” where pumpkins can either text each other or swipe left.

If there are inadequate bees for pollination, farmers often have to “hand pollinate.” Wink. (“Okay, Mr. Greenjeans, here’s the latest issue of Gourds. You can use that patch number three over there.”) It’s time we addressed the pumpkin-flavored elephant in the pumpkin-colored room. Pumpkin spice. This is the real culprit. We found this recipe for “Pumpkin Spice Mix” from The Farmer’s Almanac that we think will shock and kill you. Read it closely. Closer, come on now, get in there.

          1/3 cup ground cinnamon
          1 tbl. ground nutmeg or mace
          1 tbl. ground ginger
          1-1/2 tsps ground cloves
          1-1/2 tsps ground allspice

Admittedly, this recipe covers a lot of ground. (Did we lose the room...?)

But did you notice anything missing from this PUMPKIN spice mix recipe? No? Okay, look again but this time relax your eyes. Still nothing? Okay, then give it a couple of hours, it’ll come to you.

We were going to make a time-consuming and belabored point about this but got completely sidetracked by something else in the recipe. Notably, the ingredient “ground nutmeg or mace.” Based on that one ingredient, we’d like to close with a reboot of this timeless recipe.

         1 tbl. ground nutmeg or mace
         1/3 cup ground cinnamon or pepper spray
         1 tbl. ground ginger or tasers
         1-1/2 tsps ground cloves or ground glass
         1-1/2 tsps ground allspice or Old Spice

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