Thursday, June 1, 2017

Again With the Spruce Tips?

That’s the question I silently ask myself whenever I see “spruce tips” on a product or menu in Alaska, and in my head, I ask it in a New York accent, like Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm.

There’s spruce tip beer, spruce tip jelly, spruce tips in chocolate, spruce tip ice cream, spruce tip pesto, spruce tip tea, spruce tip smoothies, spruce tip soda, spruce tip syrup, spruce tip mayo, candied spruce tips, 
FUCKING SPRUCE TIPS in EVERYTHING. It’s all very confusing, really. As a fellow New Yorker living in Alaska said to me, we've reached peak spruce tip.

Here’s what you need to understand about my frame of reference for spruce tips: I grew up in New York City in the 80's and 90's. Neither spruce trees (nor their tips) grew there then, and they don’t grow there now.

Moreover, this was when New York City in August smelled like hot garbage. It was long before urban green spaces, rooftop gardens, and artisanal slow food pop-up kale smoothie stands in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Here’s what was in Crown Heights: riots. Here’s what was on a rooftop: rusty nails. The only greens to be found on the rooftop of an apartment building in New York City at that time was a dime bag of desiccated dirt weed procured in a sketchy hand-to-hand transaction in Tompkins Square Park, cut with off-brand dried oregano from Key Food, and blazed up in a tinfoil bowl. 

That was it.

Now you can’t swing a dead sewer rat in the five boroughs without hitting a patch of chives and the aggressively self-righteous hipster who is tending to it with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

The other question I think of every time I see “spruce tip” on a menu is “c’mon just the tip?” Along with “but I’ll get really sick and my balls will fall off,” and “I know you’re not really a dog, it’s just a style,” "just the tip" was sort of a go-to sexual negotiation tactic employed by desperate and pleading adolescent boys of yore.

Yeah yeah yeah. I know spruce tips are better for you than bad sex, but in the end, it all comes back to this: Trees belong in the ground, not in human food. I don’t need to eat or drink a fucking tree.


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