Pumpkin: the edible symbol of America; the squash that represents togetherness (read: gluttony). The annual autumn muse of Trader Joe's.
Okay fine, pumpkin is everyone's muse during the fall. But Trader Joe's is different. It's that overachiever in class everyone wants to hate, but can't because they actually are good at everything (and they're actually really nice and friendly, too).
Name any general item of food, and you'll find its pumpkin version at Trader Joe's. While you're doing that, here are five of the overachiever's greatest accomplishments.
1. Pumpkin Ale
If you think about it, the second half the year is really about eating. Thanksgiving is when everyone subconsciously pretends they're preparing for an eating contest (is that just me?) and Christmas is, well, the same.
Since you'll be eating so much anyway, you might as well do it right – you know, with a bottle of pumpkin ale in your hand. Trader Joe's carries pumpkin ale from Kennebunkport Brewing Company and, let me tell you, it's sexy. The pumpkin is subtle in taste and the spice salient. It's the ideal partner for roasted bird and carbs come Thanksgiving.
2. Pumpkin Macarons
Ah, les macarons. These beauties are an American play on a French classic – in other words, leftover pumpkin pie in the form of macaroons. Take a bite and you'll see: the pumpkin custard emulates a pumpkin pie's body and the thin cookie layers a soft, flaky crust. Their texture is just like any other macaron: crumbly and chewy.
As these macarons are of the frozen type, it's suggested you defrost them for thirty minutes before consumption. However, they're delicious frozen, so rules can be broken.
3. Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Herbal Tea
Pumpkin spice lattes are a common sight in the fall, but let's talk about their just as festive sister: pumpkin spice tea.
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Herbal Tea is the perfect drink to keep you toasty this autumn (think cinnamon, nutmeg, and knit sweaters). Just its packaging is enough to provoke your inner love for yellow leaves and colder weather. Fine, we don't have those things in Southern California, but put a tea bag in a hot cup of water or milk and you'll be sent through a portal to a place where they exist. Taste-wise, the tea certainly has more elements of cinnamon and nutmeg than pumpkin, but that's not a bad thing.
4. Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix
If pumpkin spice tea still doesn't make you feel the spirit of fall, have it with a side of pumpkin pancakes or waffles. The smell of pumpkin is immediately evident after the pancake/waffle mix hits the griddle. When consumed, though, the pumpkin flavor is pleasantly understated. The texture of the pancakes and waffles are soft and fluffy, and their subdued sweetness keeps them from tasting artificial.
5. Pumpkin Joe Joe's
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Joe Joe's are a fall remix of their original Joe Joe's (how many times can you say "Joe" in one sentence?) They're essentially cookie sandwiches made with pumpkin crème filling and vanilla wafer cookies. Like pumpkin macaroons, they're reminiscent of pumpkin pie in taste and texture: sweet, creamy, and crumbly.
Dang. It's a good day to live in a county with a lot of Trader Joe's.