Thursday, September 6, 2007

Larry David hates me.

Waiting for the bus this morning, I looked at newspaper headlines. In an unusual turn, USA Today caught my eye. It featured a brief blurb at the top about the return of HBO comedy show Curb Your Enthusiasm, starring Larry David (co-creator of Seinfeld and inspiration for the irritable George Costanza).

The blurb makes mention of the show taking on “ice cream sample abusers” in its upcoming season. The show is much like Seinfeld would have been if the original show had uncensored storylines and language, an emphasis on improvisation, and always centered around social irregularities encountered (or summoned) by George. In an episode, Larry will undoubtedly make a scene in an ice cream shop because someone is sampling ice cream flavors to their heart’s content, but much to Larry’s irritation. (Note from 2012: Here's the scene. as featured in Season 6, Ep. 3 "The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial.")

This very subject is one I’ve been pondering recently. I am very likely a prime example of one of these so-called “sample abusers.” When I buy ice cream somewhere new to me, I take full advantage of any sampling opportunities to insure I have chosen the perfect flavor combination for my very particular palate. In terms of flavor aesthetics, this is a wonderful practice. Environmentally, however, the one-time use of a plastic spoon or shovel is a wasteful practice. I am at a crossroads: I will not give up my sampling habit, but do not want to leave this earth as a terrible sea of single serving utensils for my children’s children to deal with.

Possible solutions: (1) Ice cream stores use recyclable or washable metal sampling spoons. (2) Scoop shops have jars where samplers can donate money to erase their carbon footprint. (3) Samples are, instead, catapulted into patrons’ mouths.

If anyone sees the aforementioned episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, please report back.


John said...

In response to your distress about waisting of spoons, fret not. the spoon company will continue to make the spoons and the store will continue to buy the spoons whether you use them or not. You could could always carry around your own set of wood spoons that you then take home and recycle (seeing as most ice cream shops that I have been to do not offer recycling). Sure wood spoons promote deforestation...but so does grazing of our fine bovine friends without whom our delicious devotion would not be around as a dairy product.

Brad said...

This reminds me that some places do offer samples on short, thick popsicle sticks. I think Ben & Jerry's, ever the conscious company, does this, but I do not think there is any special form of disposal.

(Wow. I tried to edit my comment to fix my own grammatical errors and deleted it. Apparently deleted comments scar permanently.)

Emily said...

I vote for communal ice cream sample troughs. Everyone face first - the troughs made of corn fiber - no utensils - environmental impact minimized. Worried about health code? Fear not! Little known fact: everyone who loves ice cream has basically the same genetic makeup (i.e. the prominent dairy lovin' gene), so what's a little saliva between family? Seriously.

Side note: I think there still should be catapulting involved in this scheme somehow. But I think most things should involve catapulting, so maybe I'm not the best gauge...

Andrew Hamm said...

Don't fret about deforestation. According to National Forestry Service surveys, the USA has more forest today than it did in the 1920s. The logging industry thinks long-term; lots of trees are being planted. Also, the spoons at ice cream shops are made of plastic, so trees are unaffected. The plastics are, however, a petroleum product, so oversampling of ice creams could impact gas prices.

I do like the catapulting plan, though.