Andrew Scheinman on food in Seinfeld – and how it could resolve all political problems
Back then, between 1989 and 1998, everything over there in the USA still appeared to be halfway in order. It may well be that the TV series Seinfeld had something to do with that. While it was being broadcast, it enjoyed extreme popularity – a popularity that didn’t end the day it went off the air. The banality of title figure Jerry Seinfeld’s daily life presents a picture of 90s New York like almost no other: His ex-girlfriend Elaine, his neighbor Kramer, and his best friend George all primarily hang around apartments, bars, or restaurants on the Upper West Side.
Sometimes these friends are on their way somewhere, or go into shops. The topic of food plays an unofficial supporting role, and several episodes are accordingly named for it: “The Rye,” “The Fusilli Jerry,” “The Calzone,” “The Pie,” “The Non-Fat Yogurt,” “The Soup,” “The Soup Nazi,” “The Chicken Roaster,” “The Pez Dispenser,” “The Junior Mint,” “The Big Salad,” “The Mango,” and “The Muffin Tops.”
Of course, the writers couldn’t stop themselves from getting political from time to time. The best-known of these moments may very well be a scene in a Jewish bakery. Seinfeld is eating a black and white cookie and offers an observation: “Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate, and yet racial harmony still eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie, all of our problems would be solved.”
It feels good to spend some time diving into the depths of the Seinfeld archive, to find yourself (if only briefly) back in a time before health food hysteria broke out, back when a pre-Millennial age valued other things than living in a constant state of optimization. No kale, no green smoothies, and definitely no chia seeds – and instead a lot of carbs, cola, and ketchup. Andrew Scheinman has put it all down for his wonderful article in the magazine Contemporary Food Labs, which you can read here in its entirety.
Translation: Melissa Frost
Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.