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September 25, 2008

Funtastic Seinfeld food moments



For today's Funtastic Thursday, Owl Meat has done a great roundup of fantastic food moments on Seinfeld.

At least I think it's a great roundup because I never saw an episode of Seinfeld.

What I was struck by was how many of these I had heard about anyway. 

Here's the Owl Man:...


"The Jerk Store is Out of You

After two weeks of actual writing, I thought I would take a different route today.  Has there been a non-cooking television show that featured food more prominently than Seinfeld?  I think not.  In a show that dwelled on the minutiae of daily life, food was front and center.
The show was so food-centric (McIntyre just felt a twinge) that many episode titles are about food:

16 The Chinese Restaurant (5/23/91)
17 The Busboy (6/26/91)
24 The Cafe (11/6/91)
31 The Pez Dispenser (1/15/92)
60 The Junior Mint (3/18/93)
65 The Mango (5/16/93)
71 The Non-Fat Yogurt (11/4/93)
77 The Dinner Party (2/3/94)
79 The Pie (2/17/94)
88 The Big Salad (9/29/94)
93 The Soup (11/10/94)
107 The Fusilli Jerry (4/27/95)
116 The Soup Nazi (11/2/95)
120 The Gum (12/14/95) [Food or not?  A Seinfeldian discussion.]
121 The Rye (1/4/96)
130 The Calzone (4/25 /96)
142 The Chicken Roaster (11/14/96)
155 The Muffin Tops (5/8/97)
157 The Butter Shave (9/25/97)
163 The Slicer (11/13/97)

People said that it was a show about nothing, but it was a show about everything.  Some say that the characters were shallow overaged adolescents obsessed with nonsense.  I disagree.  Here are some of the topics of discussion at the Owlgonquin Roundtable™ this week: buying a shower curtain on the internet, crushed versus cubed ice, whether Coke is better out of a can or bottle, why ice is a ridiculous invention and why I threw out my ice cubes trays, what's the deal with spelt, storing ice in Zip-Loc bags, and what's the difference between a shower curtain and a shower liner.
Often food and restaurants were supporting amusements, but sometimes they were plot centerpieces.

I present for your perusal and commentary a Seinfeld culinary bestiary:
(1) Marble Rye (Episode title: The Rye) Plus "Beefarino" and Rusty the horse.
(2) Soup Nazi (The Soup Nazi)

(3) Is soup a meal?  Kenny Banya. (The Soup)

(4)  Special duck, make own your pizza, abortion and hand washing. (The Couch) Deft social commentary spoken by morons:
POPPIE: (...) but we cannot give the people the right to choose any topping they want! Now on this issue there can be no debate!

KRAMER: What gives you the right to tell me how I would make my pie?

POPPIE: Because it's a pizza!

KRAMER: It's not a pizza until it comes out of the oven!

POPPIE: It's a pizza the moment you put your fists in the dough!

KRAMER: No, it isn't!

POPPIE: Yes, it is! (...)

(5) Muffin stumps (The Muffin Tops) Elaine's old boss opens Top of the Muffin to You. 

A homeless shelter employee named Rebecca DeMornay scorns their 'muffin stumps.' In case you are out of the hipster doofus loop, a 'muffin top' now signifies the roll of fat that a woman has when she's wearing tight pants and a tragically short shirt.  30 Rock exploited this when a character says that her dance club single 'Muffin Top' was on the charts in Israel.

(6) The Deli Slicer (The Slicer)

Kramer trades in his sausage press for a deli slicer.  Possible uses: meat so thin that it's invisible, trimming Elaine's uneven heels, slicing meat for the cat next door to Elaine, food for Elaine when she locks herself in her apartment, and Dr. Van Nostrin's intended surgical tool for getting a section of Mr. Krueger's mole.  A man with a lot of potatoes lives near Elaine also.

(7) Fusilli Jerry (The Fusilli Jerry)

(8) Lobster in the Hamptons (The Hamptons) Purloined lobsters, 'shrinkage,' George's lobster omelet hate crime, and Hampton tomatoes.

(9)  Mr. Pitt eats a Snickers bar with a knife and fork (The Pledge Drive)
(10) Poppy seed muffin  (The Shower Head)

J. Peterman: 'I'm afraid it's your urine, Elaine. You've tested positive for opium...That's right. White Lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai Sally...The dark continent is no place for an addict, Elaine.'

(11) George eats a chocolate éclair from the trash (The Gymnast)

Jerry Seinfeld: So let me get this straight. You find yourself in the kitchen. You see an éclair in the receptacle... and you think to yourself: "What the hell, I'll just eat some trash."

George Louis Costanza: No, no, no. It was not trash.

Jerry Seinfeld: Was it in the trash?

George Louis Costanza: Yes.

Jerry Seinfeld: Then it was trash.

George Louis Costanza: It wasn't down in. It was sort of on top.

Jerry Seinfeld: But it was in the cylinder.

George Louis Costanza: Above the rim.

Jerry Seinfeld: Adjacent to refuse is refuse.

George Louis Costanza: It was on a magazine, and it still had the doily on.

Jerry Seinfeld: Was it eaten?

George Louis Costanza: One little bite.

Jerry Seinfeld: Well, that's garbage.

George Louis Costanza: But I know who took the bite. It was her aunt.

Jerry Seinfeld: You, my friend, have crossed the line that divides man and bum. You are now a bum

And so many more."

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 11:45 AM | | Comments (38)


Don't forget cinnamon babka !!!

What makes a salad a big salad?

My favorite Seinfeld food moment was when George was eating a sandwich when he was "being intimate" with a girl..."Pastrami is the most scensious of the cured meats."

Kramer on strike at the bagel shop - "NO BAGEL! NO BAGEL! NO BAGEL!"

eating the snickers with a fork/knife

Million-to-one shot, EL.

Isn't The Fusilli Jerry more memorable for Ass Man?

Can't omit the double-dipping episode (don't recall the real title ...)

Yes, the sandwich/tv/sex combo. That was in the original version. I chopped a bunch of stuff out:

Often food and restaurants were supporting amusements, but sometimes they were plot centerpieces. Seinfeld did for foods what Spinal Tap did for the "11", haberdashers, Stonehenge, "Dubly", trouser armadillos, and the dangers of being crushed by dwarves. Can we ever look at a marble rye the same way? Or wonder about having some "frenzied coupling" (McIntyre's phrase), while secretly eating a sandwich and watching a tiny TV? I think not.

There was really no point to add Spinal Tap, except that I love it.

Isn't The Fusilli Jerry more memorable for Ass Man?

Yes, but I was sure that the same person who cut out "GILF" a week or two ago would cut that too. I noticed on an episode the other day that Kramer has a shelf full of his pasta art behind while he talked on the phone.

I've tried to order a big salad. Not easy to do.

"That is damn good scotch. I could do a commercial for this stuff. Mmmmm, boy that Hennigans goes down smooth. And afterwords you don't even smell. That's right folks. I just had three shots of Hennigans and I don't smell. Imagine, you can walk around drunk all day. That's Hennigans, the no-smell, no-tell, scotch."

"Say you've got a big job interview. Throw back a couple of shots of Hennigans and you'll be as loose as a goose and ready to roll in no time! And because it's odorless, why it'll be our little secret!"

Jerry: You had sex with the cleaning lady on your desk!? How did you do that?!
George: Hennigan's.

Don't forget-

Elaine breaking her fast with Drake's Coffee Cake.

Black and WHite cookie makes Jerry puke.

George gets Steinbrenner addicted to calzone.


Kramer gets addicted to Kenny Rogers Roasters

Jerry and his egg white omelettes/bowls of Cheerio.

Constant supply of Snapple in the fridge.

And so much more...

Since there's no TV or movie blog, I guess I can veer off here a little. I love the fictional movies in Seinfeld:

Rochelle, Rochelle
Prognosis Negative
Sack Lunch
Agent Zero
Brown-Eyed Girl
Chow Fun
Cupid's Rifle
Mountain High
Death Blow
Cry, Cry Again
The Pain and the Yearning
Blame it on the Rain
Means to an End
The Muted Heart
The Other Side of Darkness
Ponce De Leon
Flaming Globes of Sigmund

It was hard to find a suitable photo since everything from the show is copyrighted. And then trying to find a royalty free picture that combines pretzels and anger..... Here's the original photo, before I souped it up

What was Twix about?

And David Puddy's obsession with Arby's.

Remember the poor SOB who had to sit next to Elaine and Puddy on a plane back frm Europe. HIs name: Vegetable Lasagna

Like EL, I never watched Seinfeld during its original run save for a couple of first season episodes. I didn't find it funny and I thought the characters were unlikeable. I have since changed my mind after catching many eps in syndication - there are some funny parts - except that the characters are still unlikeable and only thinking of themselves.
(Oh, wait, that's most of the USA citizenry.) But as for the being the greatest sitcom of all time according to TV Guide? Not on my list of the top 10. Then again, TV Guide was featured prominently in one episode.

OMG queried: "Has there been a non-cooking television show that featured food more prominently than Seinfeld?" Well, I suppose one could forget "Alice" - there was food in almost every episode since it was set in a diner. I suppose it depends how Owlie is setting the parameters for featuring of food. Perhaps as part of the plot as opposed to a regular setting?

Rev- The TWIIIIX thing was actually in the same episode where Puddy's Arby's obsession was revealed. George goes with jerry to buy a car from Puddy, but he failed to eat lunch. A mechanic ends up eating the last Twix from the vending machine that George had bought, but the mechanic denies eating a Twix. So George sets up a taste test of candy bars to prove the guy was eating a Twix- he rigged it though and all samples were Twix.

George gets so frustrated at the end after all the samples were eaten by other employees, that he screamed TWWWWIIIIIIIIIIIIX!

"Alice" doesn't count since it was set n a diner.

The best sitcom with food was Kitchen Confidential. Only a few of the 13 original episodes aired on Fox. I saw all of them on DVD and loved it.

Puddy was awesome. I loved my delivery. I liked when they painted their bodies for hockey, Puddy's 8-ball jacket and then Puddy's fur coat. He was also really good as Johnnie Johnson, Jimmy Jameson's evil nemesis on News Radio.

Hey George, the ocean called; they're running out of shrimp.

Oh, good one LJ. That was the impetous for Jerk Store. Arrrg, where were you when I was writing this? By the way, the Awesome Store called and they are fully stocked with you! Take that.

Yes, but I was sure that the same person who cut out "GILF" a week or two ago would cut that too.

Perhaps you've flown too close to the radar Oh, Winged One?

Don't forget the one with the Junior Mints..."Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint -it's delicious!"

You can never have too much cinnamon, girl.

When people on other blogs have to post a special notice that they are not me, then yes, I feel like Icarus.

Don't forget the one with the Junior Mints..."Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint -it's delicious!"

Cinnamon Girl -- I loved that one -- Kramer's Junior Mint 'situation' while watching that surgery is priceless.

OMG - okay, I understand your parameter. How about "The Simpsons"? Homer is constantly eating something. Plus, the show has the best musical numbers this side of the Carol Burnett Show.

I just made the most delicious turkey breast, but I kept thinking about the time Kramer covered himself in butter to go tanning on the roof and cooked himself.

Peaches: trying to return a bad peach gets Kramer banned from his favorite fruitstand, so Jerry has to go buy for him; Kramer and Newman's obsession with Mackinaw peaches.

Jerry's date with "man hands" ripping up the lobster and Kramer installing a garbage disposal in his bath tub are 2 more that I liked

Supreme flounder in "The Pothole" episode. (Elaine lives outside of the delivery area for take-out, so she converts a janitor's closet into her "apartment".

What about the mangos and their amazing, urrh, rejuvenating qualities. I bought three yesterday after remembering that episode.

Oh Joyce, "man hands" and the lobster ... that was scary. I had a gal-pal with man-hands. It can be a little intimidating. She actually liked being called Man-Hands. Here's a goofy video of her that she coerced me into making (G rated). It's peanut butter Jaci time.

Oh, now this upsets my special baking day. I never knew that "muffin top" had a new meaning. Now I'm going to have to talk to Jesus (the pool boy). I think I heard him saying something like that. When I went to youtube I found this LifeSaver's ad that involves muffin tops,

You lead an intriguing life tmom.

It's all the spin that you put on it, isn't it, Owl! She is a hottie, and I'm glad she accepts herself as is.

terriermom, Glad you've got Jesus (the pool boy) to turn to for answers!

A single mom needs a little comfort now and then and Jesus (the pool boy) is a mighty fine worker. Back to cleaning for me. Oh my, I may have sampled a bit too much of the brandy for my brandied cherry pie. I feel a bit like Julia Child.

That's right, tmom, you've got your own personal Jesus (the pool boy). Throw out the pie and drink the brandy!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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