The prompt: What is your favourite autumnal flavour?
OK, so this makes me giggle. There are so many to choose from such as pumpkin, pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie, pumpkin latte, pumpkin pie Blizzards, pumpkin roll, pumpkin seeds- not so much – and then every type of candy bar known to mankind but wrapped in a festive Halloween wrapper. Popcorn balls, Turner’s orange drink that the neighbors on Woodhill Road gave out on Trick on Treat, etc. Apples from farmer’s market. Apple cider.
One flavor that stands out from my childhod is Turner’s Organge Drink in a paper pint container.Turner’s is a local dairy and one of our neighbors gave out these drinks each year. I have no idea what their name was or why they did it, but it was AWESOME. The highlight.
It isn’t like we were lacking in flavored drinks. My parents were partial to Dailey’s fruit drinks which my Mum mixed up in a giant pitcher. So I suppose it was the combination of the carton with the unique timing of the “treat” that did it for me. I rarely had Turner’s Iced Tea as a kid either because my mother made homemade.
My favorite flavour now? That’s hard to say without defaulting to pumpkin. My sense of taste is messed up from meds and I’m not hungry very often. So I suppose I’ll go with Pumpkin Spice Latte, from Starbucks. I’ve had them elsewhere and they are fine, but Starbucks does something special (probably shred baby pumpkins or something) that tastes so good.
I’ll also confess that I used to really like pumpkin spice coffee from Sam’s Club. I don’t shop at Wal-Mart or Sam’s any longer so I’ve not had it for over 12 years and I’ve never found it to be quite as good elsewhere.
When I was a child, food was seasonal to some extent. Now thanks to preservatives and restaurants, I can have a Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of July. I can eat candy corn for Easter. I can even make a stew or a fresh leaf salad year round. So the rhythmic scheme of my childhood was destroyed by the fact that I lived in a different climate for 5 years and big ag. I could cook and eat local, but my finances don’t allow for that.
So I find myself “falling” back to yesteryear on some of these questions. My parents made stew in October. Period. My Dad made a giant pot of spaghetti in October and froze it for the winter. Flavors were part of everyday life as there was no foodie concept in a 1980’s steel town. We didn’t flavor coffee except with sugar and 2% milk. We didn’t buy scented candles (or any candles) except for church. We didn’t have pie except on Thanksgiving and we NEVER went to the bakery because there wasn’t any money. Candy wasn’t wrapped in thematic packaging. It was candy and it was a major victory if we wore our parents down to purchase it.
I can add that one flavor which sticks out from my mind is cheap hot chocolate in a styrofoam cup. We played sports and that was a frequent purchase to stay warm on cold Pittsburgh weekends when our games were spread out over a few hours. That first eager slurp of what was basically brown hot water and the decaying styrofoam coating always left burn marks and was followed by blowing on it in a futile attempt to make it drinkable. The flavor wasn’t the point, but it was unique.
Here’s a video from a local show called “Pittsburgh Dad” – he’s passing out Turner’s Dairy drinks for Halloween.