The discovery of Pumpkin Spice and everything autumnally nice.
|Some years back, while still single, I invited my girlfriend, Rhonnie, to spend Thanksgiving with me at my cabin. She worked at a little coffee shop and didn’t get done until 7:00 pm, so it was late by the time we arrived. We quickly unpacked, lit a fire in the old stone fireplace, then relaxed with a couple of glasses of wine before turning in.
I woke early the next morning, tossed the last couple chunks of wood on the embers left from the night before, made a pot of coffee and worked on my manuscript for a while. After a couple hours and a pot of coffee I decided to get started on Thanksgiving dinner. Since I needed the oven for the turkey, I wanted to get the pumpkin pie baked right away. Unfortunately, the last time I was at the cabin I broke the mixing bowl; in our rush to leave, I forgot to get another.
Looking around, I spied the almost empty coffee decanter. I dumped out the cold coffee, rinsed it, and proceeded to mix up the pie filling. After pouring the filling into the crust and putting the pie in the oven, there was about a cup of pie filling left in the coffee pot. Instead of dumping it out, I just put it back on the coffee maker before going out to get another load of firewood.
I had plenty of wood on hand but none split, so it took me a little over a half an hour to get the wood carried in. By the time I did, Rhonnie had woken and gotten up. Being half asleep she didn’t notice the coffee decanter was dirty and had started a fresh pot of coffee. I, of course, didn’t realize this since I was stacking wood by the fireplace and putting a few more pieces on the now dwindling coals.
I had, however, noticed the sweet, spicy smell of what I thought was pumpkin pie baking. By the time I finished, Rhonnie was pouring a cup of coffee. She asked more to herself than to me, “What’s wrong with this coffee?”
I looked at her cup and seen the discolored coffee. Realizing what had happened, I put on my best pouty face and explained what I had done. I even offered to dump out the ruined pot of coffee and make her a fresh one. Rhonnie, not wanting to waste an entire pot of coffee, said, “Wait a sec before you throw it out.”
She gingerly put the cup by her nose and inhaled. “It smells really good; I wonder how pumpkin pie latte tastes.”
She lowered the cup, added a bit of cream and sugar, stirred it gently and hesitantly lifted the cup to her lips. She took a little sip then paused with the cup still near her lips as she let the taste seep into her taste buds. She took a second sip of the hot, spicy liquid, this time more boldly. “This is really good,” she exclaimed.
She filled my cup mixing in cream and sugar, then handed it to me. “Taste this,” she said as she took another sip of her own, “It’s absolutely divine.”
I took a tiny sip, not knowing what to expect. It was good. I took another, deeper sip and let out a sigh, “It tastes like autumn,” I replied.
We enjoyed our coffee and our Thanksgiving weekend. When we returned home, Rhonnie tweaked the ingredients for the pumpkin pie coffee and had her fellow workers try it. It was a hit with all of them; her boss even asked to add it to the menu. Of course, she called me an asked if that was alright, which I had no objection to.
They added it to the fall menu, but changed the name to pumpkin spice; who would order pumpkin pie coffee after all?
This story is fictional, I make no claims to the origins of Pumpkin Spice.