Is there anything more common yet weird to eat* than toasted pumpkin seeds? I mean the ones you yourself have scooped out from a pumpkin...that you then go and carve, preferably with a knife Michael Myers might wield, into something resembling a face. So there's that, the whole borderline brain issue, but I'm more concerned with the anticipation/result portion of the pumpkin seed snack. For they certainly smell lovely when roasting, either in the pan or in the stove, a scent distinctly fall, and no doubt that's associational, but it's a sweet spot between firewood and root vegetable. Of course you can then spice them in so many directions, from simple salt (and who just has simple salt anymore--I think we've got at least 6 salts in our house right now) to a curried extravaganza (either cheat with powder, this is just a snack, after all, or start with turmeric and keep adding). They can become a vehicle for a flavor, this way, no different than a potato chip dressed up for a foodie ball in its buffalo bleu gown, say.
But it's not even the taste I want to address. It's what happens when a handful of seeds slowly get crunched to pulp in your mouth. Is it just me, or is there at least a scintilla of the sense you're eating wood? It passes, and you'll grab another handful cause you're not sure. Or is it you refuse to believe. No doubt your mom first made this for you, and if you're of a certain age (say, oh, mine), it might be one of the first times the kitchen seemed interested in re-use/re-cycle. And, perhaps, suggesting you shouldn't care about such things. Or, suggesting we're oak-nivorous at heart.
There's no way that it's a trick moms play, for they deserve their spook-inducing treats too, you know.
*Hope that keeps any of you from suggesting, "Why, George, Seasonal Yak Testicle Jerky from Tavan Bogd is pretty weird, isn't it?"