I’m not a fan of Pumpkin Spice stuff. There. I said it. I am a very typical white girl, and I do not like Pumpkin Spice stuff. Of course I still follow some of the stereotype. I’m a big fan of cats. I wear baggy sweaters and hipster glasses with skinny jeans. I feel qualified enough in my “white girlness” that I will gladly draw the line at pumpkin spice.
I’m just not a fan of Pumpkin. Which is weird because I’m very partial to butternut and acorn squash. Huge fan of both. Of the gourds, pumpkin isn’t my forte, not my first choice and most likely my last…only with the exception of the seeds. I like those toasted. Little salt, pepper, and paprika on those. Yummy.
It’s been a pretty consistent all my life. Every year I try to eat at least one thing pumpkin spice, just to try it. This year it was three baby scones that a dear friend fed me, and they were good. Over the past few years I found a tolerance for it, to the point it wasn’t repulsive any more. Almost a guarded appreciation that said “okay, I can deal with this, I see why others appreciate it, I see why people think it’s good,” but it was never quite the thing that hit the spot for me. Nothing I ever craved, nothing I’d ever choose out of a coffee menu, and certainly not what I’d want my pancakes or sweet bread to taste like.
This fall seemed to explode with mass pumpkin spice hysteria. Candles, scented socks, beverages, aftershaves, even hand sanitizer couldn’t be spared. Nowhere you went could you escape it…until I got to work. I’m not sure why corporate forwent the mass buying of pumpkin spice items. Perhaps because our store is small they just forgot to send us the stuff? Maybe it was an act of God? It didn’t matter though how we got missed, what I knew was I was glad for it. I found comfort in candles that were cider scented, and cinnamon scented, but above all…orange spice scented.
Of all the fall flavored and scented whatever’s you can find, orange spice is my top choice. That warm burst of citrus with the undertones of nutmeg and cinnamon are a delight. My favorite tea is always Stash brand orange spice, but I’ll take anything you can offer. Orange spice scented anything? I have to smell it. Especially if is lotion. Oh, how I had wanted to buy anything I could find orange spice. Still do. Unfortunately, orange spice is not as popular as its gourd cousin, and this it is a very rare occasion when I find such items. Plus I’m pretty poor.
The love for orange spice tea, began when my mother would make us Russian tea as children. A sweet citrus black tea full of such life that it kept my spirits high in those cold winters. My mom would make it for us while we played outside in those bitter cold Midwest winters. Every time I came inside, it was there, the smell in the air and a fire in the fireplace that dad built before falling asleep on the couch for a winter nap. You could smell the tea before you even got to the door. That’s how powerful it was, and when you drank it, every ounce of cold your body held onto melted away. It was like magic.
Of course, I was diagnosed with diabetes at a young age as well, so naturally, I drifted from drinking such sweet beverages. I was already a fan of unsweetened tea at a young age as well. An aunt of mine had spent quite a few years of her life in England, and had made me very fond of tea sets. I began to have a taste for un-doctored teas. Letting their flavor a speak for themselves. I found a great deal of solace in the milder and unsweetened version of Russian Tea: orange spice. Which was practically every ingredient of Russian tea, but without the sugar.
A couple days ago I had finally been able to grocery shop. It had been about five weeks since the last one, and I was down to meals of oatmeal, butter, brown sugar, and a cup of water. When payday came I was thrilled, and after realizing that I had money left over in my budget after buying my list, I decided it was time to buy more tea, and of course, I bought orange spice. It had been years since I had actually had a good cup of Stash brand orange spice.
Pricy as it was, it was worth the splurge, and as I sat down at my table wrapping my sleeve covered hands around that warm mug, the scent alone took me out of my tiny apartment on the outskirts of that washed up town, and brought me back to much better memories of home. The chill in my body and my heart began to fade as I took my first sip. As the night drew darker, I could only think of those long cold winters, and how much good they had done for my body and soul.