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.