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Acquired Tastes: Gourd to death: Eating through Trader Joe’s annual pumpkin orgy

Every month has its own particular flavor. December tastes like candy canes and hot cocoa. March tastes like Shamrock shakes. July is hot dogs and grill char. Then there’s October, when everything is suddenly covered in goddamn pumpkin spice. Who would’ve thought pumpkin would become such an omnipresent gourd? It’s a nearly inedible fruit whose flesh is eaten only out of desperation, and it requires a sinus-clearing amount of spices just to choke it down.

This particular spice combination—cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger—has been in existence as long as American grandmas have served pumpkin pie. But at some point, likely with Starbucks’ 2003 introduction of the pumpkin spice latte, it achieved a new, weird intensity of American obsession. You know something’s popular when it inspires prophylactic parody.

Trader Joe’s, America’s lifestyle blogger-turned-grocer, hasn’t just embraced pumpkin spice season. In many …

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