Now’s the time of the year when the late night comedy “geniuses” and pretty much anybody else with the slightest pulpit (like The Fork) starts cracking wise about pumpkin spice. The leaves are changing. We’re de-mustifying our autumnal sweaters and such—the tired jokes are soon to be inescapable.
Not here at The Fork, however. Instead, we’re taking that “let people like things” tack and leaning into the concept that people looking forward to an effing drink or taste in the fall is about as innocuous as it gets. In other words, we’re here to tell you about pumpkin spice because who gives a shit if your mom likes it?
Oh, sure, there are some real weird products out there like pumpkin spice SPAM and pumpkin spice face masks, and we even saw pumpkin spice hot dogs someplace. And while we won’t tell you every idea is a good one, the 2003 launch of the now-ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte at Starbuck’s definitely seems to have birthed a movement.
But outside of the many coffees and meats in which you’ll now find PS (we’re sick of typing the whole thing every time), it’s probably not that foreign to you if you’ve ever had pumpkin pie or, like, a pumpkin muffin. We don’t need emails that’re like “Actually, here’s some information about allspice and ginger and nutmeg,” or whatever—we’re talking about flavor, not semantics, and anyway, our research shows that pumpkin pie spice (as in it was literally named that) dates back to the freaking 1930s. Did we call our grandma and ask her if she remembered such a thing? We did. And did she? NO! But, and we quote, “I’m sure if you think it happened, darling, you’re probably right. Do you need a winter coat? It’s going to be cold soon.”
But we digress...and jump ahead to 2015, when Starbuck’s (being the PS leader for some reason, much to the chagrin of Dunkin’ Donuts and its many East Coast fans) started putting actual-ass pumpkin into its drinks. We’re told by a white lady we know that that’s a good thing (and it made the taste better somehow.) Do other places do that? Maybe! Did we find out? Shit, no. We did, however, discover that Starbuck’s has sold nearly half a billion PS lattes since 2003, and that’s just in America. Just remembered another weird pumpkin spice thing: pumpkin spice hummus.
The moral? Let people enjoy things. But also don’t be so uptight about PS stuff that getting razzed by your buds makes you furious. What a waste of energy.
What are your favorite pumpkin things, dear readers? Is it a nice purée? Those are pretty easy to make, actually: Just crack open a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds (but keep them because they also taste good), roast it at 400 degrees until it’s all soft and roasty (stick a fork in and otherwise eyeball it), cool the dang thing and then scoop the innards into a food processor (oh yeah—you’ll need a food processor) and process that stuff ‘til it’s a purée. Then you can heat it or drink it or stir it into coffee or whatever else you want.
Or maybe you prefer pumpkin pie? Easy, too. Just call your mom and say “Mother, I desperately need a pumpkin pie for a fundraiser!” And then after she makes it, just eat it yourself.
Maybe you want a pumpkin muffin? Those are easy as well and require no trickery. Just go over to the Chocolate Maven and get one. Honestly, we’ve made our own at home, and they can’t touch the Maven’s.
And now you know.
This is tangentially related to pumpkins, we guess.
-Word on the street is that super-rad chef Sean Sinclair is finally ready to open (or re-open) the Legal Tender Saloon in Lamy. This thing has changed more hands than...something that changes hands a lot, but with the opening slated for Sept. 25, we’re pulling for Sinclair and company. Right now, the website is sparse, but you can still make a reservation if you wanna be in the know.
-As we speak, the 30th Annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is in full swing and running through Sept. 26. A gathering of the best and brightest chefs and wine folk in one place? Yes, please. Here’s the website, maybe you should go?
-We also hear that Dulce Capital, glorious bakery of glory over there on Cordova Road, will soon offer treats at Violet Crown Cinema at a price point that is, according to the thing we saw, “almost identical” to buying in-bakery. Honestly, next time we’re at the movies and discover a locally baked treat, we’re gonna be so down, especially if it’s the banana tart.
-Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are coming to Santa Fe Spirits after a Laguna Pueblo woman created a Tik-Tok video wherein she describes discriminatory behavior on the part of a server. She also filed a complaint. Top brass from the local company tell SFR the employee was fired due to its zero tolerance policy, and that mandatory sensitivity training will become part of their whole deal. The woman who filed the complaint tells SFR that she’s satisfied with how the company is handling her grievance and doesn’t blame an entire company for the actions of one employee.
-Over at YouthWorks, one of Santa Fe’s most excellent nonprofits for young folks, Culinary Program Director Jacqueline Gibbs was selected as a winner for the 2021 Catalyst for Change Awards from Catalyst Kitchens. Congrats, Jacqueline!
-We’re terrified to report we heard rumors about folks not being able to get in contact with Chinese restaurant Yin-Yang. We know that everyone thinks they’re the only people who know where to find good Chinese food (don’t even get us started on that “In New York...” people), but we LOVE the sesame tofu over there, so can anyone confirm or deny? We’ve tried to call three times.
-We won’t keep mentioning it, but if you’re on Facebook and not a part of the Santa Fe Foodies group, you’re not really living. Just today we read a great thread about affordable restaurants, saw some beautiful dishes made by members and remembered that chocolate cake is the best. If anyone from the group would like to talk to The Fork about endorsement, we’re open to that. Jay-kay.
-This year’s version of Sam Adams’ annual Utopias brew is reportedly so strong, it’s illegal in 15 states. Clocking in at an astounding 28% ABV (that’s alcohol by virgins...just kidding, it’s volume), you won’t find this brew in states like Oklahoma or Oregon or Utah or North Carolina and a bunch of others. It is not, however, illegal in New Mexico.
-Should you tip on your takeout order? So asks a new piece in USA Today we didn’t read because of course you absolutely should, you complete and utter monsters.
-You might have heard that Nabisco workers were on strike because conditions and pay were wack, but now you can definitely hear that the strike is over and a contract has been agreed upon. As you regulars know, we’re staunchly on the side of the worker and salute the Nabisco buds for getting what they need. Finally, too, we can eat Cheez-Its again.
-The jamokes at Food & Wine-dot-com released a piece about the new rules of dining out...y’know, because COVID. When our boss heard us talking about this, though, he pointed out that it was pretty much a ripoff of a piece he did last year. Sigh. We’re exhausted. Anyway, point is this—be cool, shit.
Speaking of rules, take a look at this glorious nonsense.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In this week’s print edition of SFR, food was nixed to make room for something or other, but you can catch a review of the new spot Golden Land Café from last week when we were gone.
Number of Letters Received
*And mostly auto-replies
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“I don’t want to think about butts when I think about peaches.”
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“Enjoy your week off.”
*Now THAT is helpful.