There are a few things that define fall for me: crisp days, vibrant leaves, corn mazes and people making fun of the pumpkin spice craze.
It used to be that people would delight in the discovery of a new pumpkin spice creation, but now there is more joy to be had in mocking it publicly.
Late night monologues, blog posts and even a Pinterest board have been devoted to it!
As ridiculous as the pumpkin spice thing is, I submit that there is something much worse:
1. It’s Not A Real Thing – My mother had a spice jar called ‘pumpkin pie spice’ in the cupboard many years ago. I saw it and I touched it. It was real. Caramel has had salt as an ingredient since the dawn of time. It might be disguised as butter, but it has been salty for all eternity. Calling it “salted” is like saying ‘coocoa-ed chocolate’ or ‘nutmegg-ed eggnog’. Don’t be fooled.
2. The Large Salt Crystals – Just admit it. If you see dice-shaped translucent cubes in the same vicinity as a shiny light brown pool of liquid, you’re going to start salivating. Food establishments know this, and they see you coming. They have the ability to turn humans into drooling zombies with two or three jagged, yet neatly placed, salt nuggets in a photo. The use of the word ‘sea’ in front of ‘salt’ in this comfort food linguistic trifecta can actually render humans speechless until they’ve indulged their salty/sweet urges.
3. It’s Uses Are Borderline Ridiculous – I’m willing to accept that some desserts are centered around salted caramel. Cookies, ice cream, and coffee drinks are things I’m willing to look past (except when I’m shoving them in my pie hole and can’t see around them). I start to feel a little creepy when I see it sneaking into my rice crispy treats, Greek yogurt, peanuts and vodka though. What I absolutely cannot accept are the barrage of non-edible salted caramel creations such as lotions, shampoos, and air fresheners (yes, the plug-in people have stooped this low).
4. It Is Year Round – Sure it gets mixed into the Starbucks menu board as a runner-up to pumpkin spice, but it also shows up spontaneously throughout the entire year. I’ve seen it in the dead of winter and the depths of summer popping up in drinks, ice cream flavors, chocolate and more. This fake flavor knows no seasonal boundaries.
5. People Take It Seriously – Unlike the bandwagons of pumpkin spice or bacon tomfoolery we’re all so keen to jump on, people take their salted caramel very seriously. Food bloggers would likely throw down if I so much as suggest that their egregious sodium-cube-close-ups, and gratuitous addition of the words ‘brown butter’ to their recipes, were even the slightest bit indulgent and unnecessary. In retaliation, I submit to you the Salted Caramel Humor Pinterest board with just one lone pin. This post.