Photo Courtesy of Mizner Country Club

By Alannah Murphy

This is an independently submitted op-ed for our Quill section. Views and statements made in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of  The Tower.

In recent years, the season of autumn has caused regular food items, which are not traditionally associated with fall, to be turned into the fall version of itself. Apple crisp, pumpkin spice, maple, butternut squash, and caramel seem to be the most popular flavors that these foods get masked in.  Some foods are greatly complimented by the addition of these fall flavors, however, more often than not these foods make no sense with the addition of fall flavors and even seem unappetizing.

In my opinion, this obsession with turning regular foods into fall foods is thanks to the trending fall aesthetic on social media apps, especially TikTok and Instagram. #FallVibes, #FallCore, #Autumn, #Pumpkin, #October are some of the top trending hashtags for fall on Instagram. The fall aesthetic has become well known due to many people posting pictures and videos that include warm drinks, baked goods, thick sweaters, soft-lit candles, books, and a neutral color pallet of browns and oranges. 

A TIME magazine article states, “The fall obsession itself is nothing new. Many beloved films and TV shows are memorable for their crunching leaves and ties to the season (think: When Harry Met Sally; Good Will Hunting; Silver Lining Playbook). And the internet’s love of foliage content started long before the emergence of TikTok and vertical videos.” 

Fall has become so much more than just a season that signifies the start of school and the change in temperature; it has become a state of mind and a fully immersive experience. 

As for the fall foods that I would like to talk about, I think beginning with the classical and quintessential fall beverage is a good place to start. 

Photo Courtesy of Starbucks Stories & News

  1. Starbucks fall edition drinks

The Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) season phenomenon originated from the hype that has been formed around Starbucks drinks and the anticipation of waiting for Starbucks’ fall drinks to drop each year. Starbucks has come out this year with some new drinks to accompany the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte. Apple Crisp Shaken Espresso and Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte are two drinks on the menu that have received polarizing reactions from many people on my college campus. I was warned not to drink the Apple Crisp Shaken Espresso because the artificial apple flavor is not executed very well and has been described as “sour, bitter, and overwhelming.” Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte seems to be a more well-received drink. As a long-time chai tea latte lover, I really enjoyed this drink because the pumpkin cream adds a nice flavor to the drink. My only critique would be that the drink is very sweet and it is not something I could drink often without getting tired of the flavor. In the end, I will always be a sucker for Starbucks fall drinks and no fall season is complete without enjoying one of these drinks. 

Photo Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

2. Trader Joe’s Many Fall Foods

Trader Joe’s food has been popping up on my FYP on TikTok and Instagram for years now. It seems Trader Joe’s foods, specifically their frozen foods, have garnered so much attention due to their quirkiness and uniqueness. Trader Joe’s is known for catering its food to any season or holiday throughout the year by consistently coming up with limited-edition items. Fall is no exception, in fact, it might be Trader Joe’s most played-up season. Some of the staple items have returned this year including the apple-cider doughnuts and pumpkin-flavored Joe-Joe’s which is Trader Joe’s version of an Oreo. My personal favorite is the Apple Cinnamon Buns. I feel like any baked good is elevated by the addition of fall flavors. Additionally, there are also some items that are patently marketed to people with an obsession with fall. These items include:

  • Butternut-Squash Mac and Cheese
  • Pumpkin Empanadas
  • Fall Harvest salsa
  • Turkey-and-Pumpkin Mole Burrito
  • Pumpkin-and-ginger ice cream
  • Pumpkin-spice hummus
  • Pumpkin Gnocchi 
  • Pumpkin Mochi

Photo Courtesy of Target

3. Target’s Good & Gather Brand

Target is the place many of us go for our fall and Halloween decorations but it is also one of the many stores that jump on the fall food bandwagon. Good & Gather, Target’s in-house brand is responsible for many interesting autumnal food releases this year. They have Apple Cider, Pumpkin spice cookies, and Glazed Maple donuts, as well as other predictable items to be sold during the fall season. However, by taking a look at Target’s website, it becomes obvious the vastness of fall-flavored foods they sell. There is a whole section of their website dedicated to “Fall Food” which has been broken down into categories like “snacks, bakery & desserts, beverages, and breakfast.” When I went to the “snacks” page I was shocked to see Good & Gather had virtually turned any snack you could think of into a fall version of itself. Some of the most notable items are:

  • Harvest Trail Mix
  • Pumpkin spice Kettle Corn 
  • Pumpkin Pretzels
  • Pumpkin Gummies
  • Pumpkin Granola 
  • Pumpkin spice instant oatmeal 
  • Cookies in every fall flavor you could possibly think of 

In summation, our cultural fixation on the season of fall and our societal determination to turn everything into a fall equivalent of itself will likely continue for the foreseeable future. And because of this, I believe it may be time for us all to fully embrace the fall culture. 

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