Yes, another one of your favorite fall food groups doesn't actually have any pumpkin in it. However, unlike pumpkin flavored products, pumpkin spiced coffees never claimed to have or taste like pumpkin.
Image from Delish
Pumpkin spice, also known as pumpkin pie spice, is simply a mixture of spices that people normally put in pumpkin pies. The spice blend consists of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. You can actually find little jars of the blend premixed.
It's actually a misconception that pumpkin spice foods are pumpkin flavored. This news is probably disappointing if you were planning on picking up some pumpkin spice cookies or cereal, but it does makes pumpkin spiced chicken wings a little more appetizing (even if they are still a bit odd).
Image from Buffalo Wild Wings
Starbucks introduced the first pumpkin spice lattes 15 years ago, but only started putting pumpkin puree in these popular drinks a few years ago, so the PSL you fell in love with didn't have any pumpkin at all.
Even now, pumpkin spice coffee drinks have very little pumpkin puree in them. Homemade pumpkin spice latte recipes only call for a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin. With all of the spices in there, you won't even be able to taste the pumpkin. Cloves alone are very overpowering, so adding a ton of cinnamon and other spices completely mask any other flavor.
Even if they don't taste like pumpkin, people still love pumpkin spice foods. Are you a fan of the pumpkin spice trend, or are you over it?
Bubble tea is one of the trendiest drinks right now. Within the past few years, bubble tea has increasingly been featured on Instagram feeds and Facebook videos, and specialty tea shops have popped up all over big cities and college towns, Sure, bubble tea looks cool, but what exactly is bubble tea?
Image from Secret NYC
Bubble tea (aka boba) is basically just tea with tapioca pearls at the bottom. Sometimes, fruit flavored pearls are used instead. A variety of teas can be used in bubble tea, but milk tea is the most common type. Milk tea is exactly what it sounds like: tea with milk in it. Milk tea is made differently depending on the country of origin and the maker's personal preferences. The milk tea used in boba is typically made with either black or green tea.
Bubble tea originated in Taiwan. Unfortunately for whoever created this tasty drink, the inventor has never been identified or been given credit. Boba exploded in popularity in its home country in the '80s and became big worldwide fairly recently.
Image from Twinings
Tapioca pearls are made from the same substance as your grandmother's famous pudding. Tapioca is a starchy substance made from cassava root, which is a plant native to Brazil. Tapioca has little nutritional value but is popular because of its texture.
Unless you order bubble tea with fruit flavored pearls, the "bubbles" don't add any additional flavor to the drink. The real appeal of bubble tea is the fun of slurping up the pearls through a big straw.
Image from Boba Life
While bubble tea seems like it's everywhere, it's not for everyone. Tapioca doesn't contain gluten, but people can still be intolerant to it. People with tapioca intolerances get upset stomachs after eating tapioca.
If you're like me and can't drink bubble tea without getting a stomach ache, you can still enjoy milk tea without the tapioca pearls or try out the fruit pearls.
No matter how you order your boba, it's still a fun and delicious drink and worth a try. Based on all of the new tea shops around, you have plenty of time to try it for yourself.
Pumpkins are, without a doubt, the biggest symbol of fall. It's hard to leave the house in October without seeing a pumpkin. People love pumpkins and use them in so many ways. People pick them, carve them and even eat them...or at least they think they do.
Image from Food Network
All of those tasty pumpkin-flavored treats actually have little to no pumpkin in them. The canned pumpkin puree that we use to make pies, breads and more say "100% Pumpkin" on them, but they actually contain a blend of other squashes. Sometimes this blend includes actual pumpkins, but there's no guarantee.
Food manufacturers have to list all ingredients, so it probably seems wrong for foods to be labeled as just pumpkin when there are other squashes involved. Despite this, it is perfectly legal for manufacturers to omit the other squashes from the list.
Image from Mother Nature Network
The FDA does require food packaging to list all of the ingredients the food contains, and it also has the power to define what ingredients are. With the case of pumpkins, the FDA is pretty loose with the term. While we think of pumpkins as those big orange squashes, the FDA defines pumpkin as "golden-fleshed, sweet squash or mixtures of such squash and field pumpkin."
The FDA acknowledges that field pumpkins are different from other squashes, but allows producers to label them all as "pumpkin" when pureed because the organization doesn't think this labeling is intended to deceive consumers.
However, people do feel pretty deceived when they find out about this. Even though we love pumpkins and want to eat them, according to Mental Floss, pumpkins don't taste good and are hard to puree. So, it's probably best that we stick to pretending.
Anyone can post anything that they want on the internet, regardless if it's true. We saw big problems with this with the spread of fake news on social media during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Fake news increased distrust for journalism, a field that has already been struggling due to the decline of newspapers and television. While this is certainly a big blow for journalism right now, it isn't a fatal one.
Social media has made it extremely easy to spread false information, but it has also made it easy to spread the truth. Finding details for stories and topics for new stories is so much easier for journalists thanks to social media. It's hard not to come across story ideas when you open up Facebook or Twitter.
Sure, people do post things that aren't true, but journalists can fact-check using other information found on social media sites and from different sources. Even though sifting through a ton of posts is time consuming and can be a lot of work, having extra information is never a bad thing. Also, if there is something that journalists miss or make a mistake on, social media makes it so much easier for readers/listeners to let everyone know.
Social media allows for direct contact between audiences and journalists. This can be helpful when journalists are looking for specific information or when people have something to share, be it corrections, tips or personal opinions.
Additionally, social media let's us get our news so much faster than we ever have. Journalists and news outlets are constantly posting story updates online. This makes it so much easier for people to get their news on the go (or while laying in bed). News alerts on smart phones also make sure that we don't miss any breaking news. I know that I am much more informed now than I ever have been because I use social media to get my news.
Like with any new medium, social media poses unique problems for journalism. I think that journalism will overcome these issues and be better off. Technology is constantly changing, so in the future there will be something that overtakes social media as a primary way people get news, but what could possibly edge out social media? We're just going to have to wait and keep an open mind.
Ever since the rise of Instagram, food bloggers and restaurants alike have been trying to come up with the next viral food sensation. One of the most recent trendy foods to hit our feeds is glitter food.
This past spring, Dagwood Pizza in Santa Monica California gained national attention for its "Magical AF" glitter pizza.
Image from Nerdist
People aren't just eating glitter; they're also drinking it. About one year before glitter pizza became a thing, Coffee By Di Bella made headlines for selling glittery coffee at its Mumbai, India locations. The "Diamond" and "Gold" cappuccinos come topped with silver and gold holographic glitter, respectively.
Image from Today
If you think that the glitter you see on food pictures looks like crafting glitter, that's probably because it basically is. While sugar can be used to make colorful and shiny sprinkles, it doesn't give the same effect as actual glitter, holographic or otherwise. Real glitter is made from small pieces of plastic.
According to the Food Network, some glitter products that are marketed for food use are considered nontoxic, but the FDA does not classify them as edible. Nontoxic glitter entered the food scene for cake decorating purposes, but was not intended to actually be consumed. Despite this, nontoxic glitter use on food gained popularity.
Image from Pink the Town
Even though viral foods tend to contain nontoxic glitter rather than the edible kind, the companies call the glitter edible on their menus and on social media. Because of this, it can be hard to distinguish what you're supposed to eat from what you can, but probably shouldn't.
Nontoxic substances aren't harmful, but they still aren't edible. For context, crafting products commonly used by children, like paint, glue and markers, are also nontoxic. Making materials nontoxic is more of a safety precaution than anything else. Unfortunately, real edible glitter doesn't usually go viral like the fake stuff does.
Sugar sprinkles do add a nice pop of color and shine to food, but they certainly don't pack the same punch as real glitter, especially the holographic kind. Would you ever consider eating pizza covered with glitter? I think I'd rather stick with plain cheese.