A self-described pumpkin enthusiast, Edward Allen has spent years seeking out every variety of seasonal squash-flavored product, from body scrubs to bubblegum to beer. We asked him to be Los Angeles magazine’s official holiday pumpkin correspondent, and lend his gourd-spertise to some of the season’s most outrageous pie-spiced goodies. (Note: He’s also one of the founders of local PR firm Urban + Allen; unfortunately for him, none of his clients are pumpkins.)
People often equate my love of pumpkin to the affinity Forrest Gump’s Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue has for shrimp. I don’t always see the resemblance, but then, whenever I walk into a Trader Joe’s around this time of year I feel the urge to start reciting the offerings: “Pumpkin cornbread croutons, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin scone cookies, pumpkin toaster pastries, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin macaroons, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cornbread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin butter…” The Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Body Butter was my favorite find from all of last year—it makes the shower (and me) smell delicious.
First-up to try this year: Trader Joe’s Country Pumpkin Spice Granola Cereal, fresh off the season’s 2014 must-have line. I grabbed a box and some almond milk and headed home for a bowl. The granola includes all of your run-of-the-mill “pumpkin-stuff” spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom—as well as actual bits of dried pumpkin. While I found the cereal pleasantly satisfying, my main critique is that it’s not terribly pumpkiny, just spice-y. Nor am I sure where exactly the “country” fits in. Next time I will head straight for the pumpkin rolls with pumpkin spiced icing. Those have got to be good.
Score: 2 Jack-O-Lanterns (out of 5)