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When Did “Pumpkin Spice” Become Such a Popular Flavor?

Pumpkin spice typically consists of a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Sometimes it even contains actual pumpkin. Nowadays, as cool autumn weather approaches and people gear up for Halloween and Thanksgiving, "pumpkin spice" becomes inescapable, showing up as a flavoring in everything from Starbucks coffee to high-end dog biscuits. It dates back to 1796, when two pie recipes called for “pompkin” spice in that year’s edition of American Cookery, the first cookbook written by an American.

'Tis the season for pumpkin spice:

  • American Cookery was written by Amelia Simmons, although almost nothing is known about her life.

  • Pumpkin spice made its earliest appearance in a recipe for something other than pumpkin pie in 1936, when The Washington Post printed a recipe for pumpkin spice cakes.

  • In the 1960s, spice companies such as McCormick began selling pumpkin pie spice to bakers who didn’t want to have to concoct their own.

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More Info: Smithsonian magazine

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