19 Comments

  1. Thanks, Darren.

    I got 9 out of 12 right, but it was just a good run of guesses.

    I won’t count the 13th, because I happened to know it was real.

  2. @ Bill – At first I was going to complain that you gave away an answer, but when I took the quiz (10 out of 13), I discovered that the order is randomized (for me, the 13th product was an obvious fake).

  3. You can almost tell just by looking at the quality of the packaging. If the “pumpkin spice” label is well-integrated into the design of the package, it’s probably real. If someone just slapped the words “pumpkin spice” on a non-food (or -scent) product then it’s probably fake.

  4. 12 out of 13 right for me despite not knowing anything about pumpkin spice or when you would use it (do you use it on pumpkins or is it somehow made out of pumpkin and some other ingredients?). So also a run of guesses, combined with the Photoshop good/bad line Powers mentions. Except the one I got wrong looked to have pretty poor Photoshop yet was true.

  5. @ “gefilte” fish – I’m glad the topic came up, because I finally learned the etymology of “gefilte“. I had falsely connected it with “filtered”, but it originally meant “filled”, because the fish paste was once stuffed into a fish skin before it was cooked, producing a boneless “fish” that could then be carved.
    P.S. I know it’s a traditional dish that some people must like (because otherwise nobody would still make it), but having already tried it a few times (decades ago), I have absolutely no inclination to repeat the experiment.

  6. narmitaj — “pumpkin spice” just means “mulling spices.” They’re the spices usually used in pumpkin pie, mulled cider, apple pie, mulled wine, and the like, and are a flavor combination that just says “fall and/or winter” to a lot of people. It’s a combination of things like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and sometimes ginger, and more rarely things like black pepper, cardamom, and star anise, although I can tell you from recent experience that, if you’re going to use star anise, use it SPARINGLY, because it WILL overpower absolutely everything else if you give it half a chance.

    It’s a classic flavor blend which has been part of Western cuisine, especially autumnal Western cuisine, for centuries, but became seen as faddish once it picked up the name “pumpkin spice.” And, yes, it IS sometimes overused in places it isn’t great in, leading to parodies like the one above, but the hatred it gets is out of proportion to what it actually is.

    You could call it “apple pie spice” just as easily as you could call it “pumpkin spice”, and it probably would get less hate. It would still lack apple, just as pumpkin spice lacks pumpkin, but whatever.

    I probably would call it “Fall Flavor”, were I a marketer.

  7. Fortunately the pumpkin and gefilte fish seasons are (at least in the northern hemisphere) half the year apart, or else someone probably would have done this.

  8. @ianosmond – Ah, I know about mulled wine, I didn’t know the same stuff was used on pumpkins. Thanks.

  9. For the record, I believe it was Starbucks that started the “pumpkin spice” trend by putting it in their lattes.

  10. @narmitaj — it works on any of the orange winter squashes, really — butternut, acorn, pumpkin. If you haven’t tried it, it’s worth trying.

    @Powers — I wouldn’t be surprised if the backlash against “pumpkin spice” is really a backlash against Starbucks’s habit of taking things with perfectly serviceable existing names, such as “fall spice blend” and “large/medium/small”, and making up their own terms.

  11. My understanding of pumpkin spice is that it usually includes something that resembles the “pumpkin” part of the experience, like a butternut squash extract, not just the spice mix.

    Also I wouldn’t put that spice mix into an apple pie, it would overwhelm the apples.

  12. While I’m not surprised that pumpkin spice gefilte is fake, I am surprised that a quick search turned up 0 recipes. Surely someone has tried this and thinks it’s good.

  13. “Also I wouldn’t put that spice mix into an apple pie, it would overwhelm the apples.”
    If you get it right, it will enhance the apples: the idea of spice is not to cover, it’s to bring forth hidden tastes.

  14. The traditional “pumpkin spice” components are commonly used in spice cake. I was looking at recipes yesterday. I like spice cake.

  15. Kilby – they have never gotten me or Robert to taste gefilte fish. For those who do not know it – it is sort of fish “meat”ball. Salad for us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s