Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2015. We’ve selected it as one of the posts we’re republishing for our 10th anniversary celebrations in May 2017.
Seinfeld’s magical nihilism seems to reach its peak with the juxtaposing of serious dramas — deaths, break-ups, deaths that are a convenient substitute for break-ups (RIP Susan) — with trivialities, the most common of which involve foodstuffs. The show’s gastronomical leaning is often, itself, toward the aggrandizing of the trivial: the gravity with which a food group that can only be described as “light nibbles” is dissected by the characters usually far outweighs that with which they approach larger meals, relationships, friendship, and, just generally: life.
The takeaway may not be that Seinfeld is a show about “nothing.” Rather, it’s a show about everything, and how said “everything” is just a little less important than, say, a tiny mint, a very big salad, or the absence of a very delicious chocolate babka. Ultimately, Seinfeld fans must ask: is the show actually nihilistic, or has it found its higher purpose, its raison d’être, even its godhead, in the manifold glories of snacks?
After looking through this comprehensive guide to Seinfeld’s most crucial food references, you, too, might feel as though you’ve just stumbled upon the “meaning of it all.”