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September 18, 2014


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The copy editor in me thinks that the "pumpkin spice latte" should probably really be a "pumpkin-spice latte," with a hyphen—i.e., a latte flavoured with pumpkin spices (the sort of spices one uses in baking with pumpkin)—not to be confused with a "pumpkin–spice latte," with an en dash, which would be a latte flavoured with pumpkin *and* spices. I guess a "pumpkin spice latte" with a space ought to be a spice latte flavoured with pumpkin, which would amount to more or less the same thing as the en-dash version. But these distinctions are probably too subtle for Starbucks.

Also, isn't maple syrup a spring flavour?

Q. Pheevr: To be really precise, it probably should be "pumpkin PIE spice." (Lazy bakers can buy a ready-made seasoning blend called pumpkin pie spice.)

Maple syrup is a spring product, but somehow the flavor has become associated with autumn, at least in the U.S. Different in Canada, maybe?

The maple=fall association may well be connected to the autumn leaves, which can be very colorful (depending on the kind of maple) and of course are favorites for primary school art projects. (I grew up in a town that styled itself The Maple City.) Also, Q., I would never have hyphenated pumpkin-pie (or en-dash it, which would suggest “spice latte” was a thing). For me pumpkin pie was always a fixed compound that can stand alone. But now that Starbucks is confusing everyone, maybe I'll have to hyphenate after all.

Your photo from the village brought to mind that you might well appreciate this recently released pro-Oakland anthem by a local Psychobilly band, the Phenomenauts : http://youtu.be/9aGvyIzrbnc (warning: substantive earworm danger). There are lot's of local institutions shouted out in the final chorus ("The Crucible!")

In regards, the Pumpkinning of the season, Dorkly made a lovely connection to Game of Thrones: http://www.dorkly.com/post/68296/the-surest-sign-winter-is-coming .

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