Who eats (or comes up with) this stuff?

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Pumpkin taco sign

Dear Food Manufacturers of America,

I get that some tastes can be an unexpected pleasure. I don’t think I had heard of “Salted Caramel” with that buttery sweet and salty blend 10 years ago. Now it’s everywhere. Chocolate in Chili? It works for some.

Then we have the truly odd combinations. The food abominations if you will. Lay’s biscuit and gravy, or waffle syrup chips. Increasingly strange colors and flavors stuffed into the middle of Oreo cookies. The world did not need a virulent orange pumpkin spice Oreo. It just didn’t.

Et tu, baked beans?

Even something as simple as canned beans has been pushed to the brink of bean insanity. Baked beans used to be something that you bought canned and they all tasted just about the same. A friend just clued me in to the existence of Asian cuisine inspired … baked beans. Or, as my friend said “that Bush’s beans golden retriever is headed for the dog house. Epic disaster for them to put soy sauce in beans. How can you mess up BEANS?”

Pop Tarts, the closest thing to candy you can eat for breakfast, has unveiled Maple Bacon flavored pop tarts. I’m sure someone is going to tell me how delicious this is. I am just going to have take this on faith because I’ve always felt Pop Tarts resembled chemically coated cardboard as is. Not even bacon can help that.

Wrong, just wrong

Potato chips have become the source for some strange, chemically constructed flavors. Mayo, kiwi, peppermint and gravy. These are not flavors anyone clamored for. I’m certain of it.

Speaking of clams: Clam chips, they’re out there.

Pizza crust, already a nutritionist’s nightmare, has now enjoyed the addition of hot dogs in pizza crust. Why was this necessary? Do hot dogs and pizza even complement each other?

Ice cream, once a food even the pickiest palate could trust, has gone rogue on us. Siracha hot sauce ice cream. Habanero Bacon Avocado Ice Cream. I love hot foods, but for the love of all that is good and creamy, why are there peppers in ice cream?

I’m certain there are people who sit around and predict the next big thing in flavors. I’m sure they are to blame for the pumpkin spicing of all the things.

Pumpkin spice is a delightful flavor — in small doses. It started with lattes, then regular coffee, cookies, baked goods, candy, hummus and snacks. Now it’s hit alcohol, cereal, crackers, barbecue sauce and everything else. The only thing left to pumpkin spice is cat litter and glue.

I love to eat and I love to try new things, but when the food items. I just don’t think food should become the ultimate “dare.” In truth, I think we are truly becoming a nation that can no longer even say “all our taste is in our mouths.”

Let’s all take a breather before “pumpkin spice” passes and “peppermint season” is upon us. Let us all take a moment to remember that when it comes to dreaming up brave new flavors, just because you can does not mean that you should.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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