Pumpkin spice turkey is here to divide the masses

A girl with Halloween pumpkin in front of her head
Photo: Catherine Delahaye (Getty Images)

On a season four episode of Mad Men, Peggy resorts to cheap theatrics to keep hold of the Sugarberry Ham account: she hires two actresses to fight over the last Sugarberry Ham in the grocery store, which would ideally gain the attention of fellow shoppers and drive up demand for the product. The plan, however, goes awry when one of the actresses gets legitimately hurt and decides to press charges. These days, there’s a much easier way to increase sales: release a pumpkin spice something-or-other sometime between August and November. That ought to do it.

Glazed turkey sliced on a plate beside a pumpkin
Photo: The Honey Baked Ham Company

The Honey Baked Ham Company has announced that it’s now selling a limited-edition Pumpkin Spice Glazed Turkey Breast. “Honey Baked is putting a seasonal touch on their signature sweet and crunchy glaze so customers can enjoy their favorite fall flavor any time of day,” reads an emailed press release from the company. “Each Pumpkin Spice Glazed Turkey Breast features the perfect combination of aromatic spices that create a pumpkin spice glaze that will give you the taste of fall. This new seasonal turkey breast comes roasted or smoked.”

As we’ve taken pains to establish in all our discussions of pumpkin spice, “pumpkin spice” as a flavor category is nothing but marketing. There’s rarely any actual pumpkin involved, and the warming spices that comprise the typical pumpkin spice bouquet (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, allspice) are only as seasonal as we believe them to be: “the taste of fall” can really be yours anytime you like, Starbucks be damned. This turkey breast, meanwhile, is only available through October 31 at select Honey Baked locations. It’s sort of surprising that October is the hard cutoff for this product; I’d be inclined to incorporate this into a Thanksgiving spread, wouldn’t you? Or are you so sick of pumpkin spice everything that you’d sooner incorporate this right into the trash?

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.



Once again marketing copy fail. “Crispy” is the adjective they should have gone with. “Crunchy” skin on a ham sounds gum-shredding? Or try fusion culinary appropriation : “Pumpkin 5-Spice Chai Latte, now from Starbucks”