Poor, 8 a.m. life decisions and I are not strangers, particularly in Autumn. This week I had a date with a bowl of pumpkin spice cheerios. Two years ago, it was my tryst with Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. Today, I really should have rethought that meeting with the pumpkin spice latte peep.
Autumn is a wonderful thing. It’s filled with blah blah crisp air blah blah blah apple cider doughnuts blah blah blah Halloween. I love everything about the season, despite the number of blahs I typed. The new focus, it seems, of Autumn in American food and living culture has turned to pumpkin spicing everything once September hits.
Pumpkin pies are a staple of the Autumn experience. Hearty soups made from squash. Pumpkins decorate our homes as firm reminders that the season is upon us, because calendars don’t do their jobs. Someone, at some point, decided that the great pumpkin flavors of the delicious pie should be infused into our lives to craft a shared experience.
Pumpkin spice takes no prisoners. Twinkies aren’t safe. My own house embraced the onslaught, and there were no regrets when I drank down that pumpkin pie milkshake last week. I welcome most things pumpkin spice—save the mock up of feminine hygiene products.
And now, there’s one another atrocity to add to the list. You already guessed it—it’s our fair-weather friends, Peeps.
What was I thinking when I bit into the marshmallow fabrication of Autumn that is a Peep? Nothing. I was thinking it’s Friday, and what could possibly go wrong on a Friday? The scent was appealing—you see, I’ve been trained to be a part of the machine that celebrates this manufactured season. The familiar wafts of pumpkin, spice and the domineering nutmeg that drowns the pumpkin flavor are present through the package. It wouldn’t be pumpkin spice if it didn’t slip through plastic.
So, the peeps passed the first test.
I had forgotten about the tiny print on the package, and when I put my teeth to the peep, I was met with a hard layer. Was this peep stale? No. It wasn’t the same texture as a stale peep (I know people who let their peeps air for weeks just to eat them at that texture. I’m sorry I admitted that). It was a hardened shell of something. It was slightly off color from the diluted, wannabe-orange peep. It was the fudge that tiny print had warned me of.
It ruined the rest of the bird.
The shell is white fudge, and sickeningly sweet under the marshmallow butt of the bird I chose. His death was slow as I did not Ozzy Osbourne my performance eating this morning. His revenge is that I am now feeling sufficiently nauseated—at the time of this writing, and at the time of publication, which is now hours past the initial event, the memory is enough to leave me feeling queasy.
The white fudge tastes as cloying as white chocolate enjoys perpetrating. It was overly sugary—this cocoa that’s bereft of life, leaving nothing but dreams of what once was, behind. It overpowers the pumpkin spice. Together, it tastes like a chalk-scrawled check mark signalling another notch of life regret.
On its own, the peep tastes vaguely of pumpkin spice. A last bite reminded me of what the package promised, which comes far too late because I’m already sick. Pumpkin spice lattes never betray me like that until the last sip when the goodness becomes too much to handle. This Peep betrayal happened on the first bite, only to remind of the happiness of a pumpkin spice latte on its way out. Have I been a victim of first-class trolling tactics? I’m putting nothing past these seemingly mild-mannered sugar coated fiends.
As the beady eyes of his companions stare at me like death as I write this, I am too scared to confirm my thoughts with a second helping. Surely, the pumpkin spice latte peeps have won this day. Their smug eyes herald the vengeance they sought for their fallen, on-the-right winged brethren.
But they’ve also proved that pumpkin spice done wrong is a hell of a nightmare. What’s worse is that every once in a while, I’ll get a scent of them in my room, as if to remind me of this. These peeps are on the attack.
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