Food and culture are inextricably linked at both the societal level and the familial. And for over a decade, food culture at the societal level has been, at least during the fall, dominated by Pumpkin Spice.
Each year a host of completely unsuitable products are given a pumpkin spice makeover. But ubiquity leads to antipathy and Peak Pumpkin Spice will arrive sooner rather than later, if it hasn’t already.
And while most pumpkin spice products are offered for a limited time, the sheer number of products, and their disturbingly long shelf lives are turning a once powerfully mnemonic flavour into another vanilla.
Thinking about what we eat when and how we eat it, is not just about transmitting culture, it’s about helping my daughter to develop a healthy relationship with food. It’s why we pick berries and vegetables, shop at the farmers market, and cook, bake, and eat together.
So how will this aspect of food culture be interpreted by our family? By maintaining it’s rarity and traditional forms. In order to retain the power of pumpkin spice (to evoke all those fall memories) I am limiting it’s use to pie and muffins.
And while I can limit my pumpkin pie intake to thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, pumpkin spice really is too good to only eat twice a year, hence pumpkin spice muffins!
I use a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup to sweeten these muffins, but using one cup of all sugar or all syrup works too.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can pumpkin purée (396 ml/14 oz)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 400C
1. Beat butter, sugars until pale and well combined, about 5 minutes
2. Beat in eggs one at a time until fully combined
3. Beat in vanilla, pumpkin purée, cinnamon and nutmeg
4. Gently stir in flour, baking powder and salt while being careful not to over mix
5. Divide batter between 12 muffin cups
6. Bake in center of oven for 30 minutes