An Exhaustively Complete Food Tour of ‘Seinfeld’

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.”

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Soup

Episode: “The Soup Nazi” (Season 7, Episode 6)

If there’s one food oddity from Seinfeld that casual viewers remember, it’s likely the Soup Nazi. The gang begins frequenting a fantastic new soup stand, only to be banned one by one by the particular owner due to their difficult behavior: George asks for bread, Jerry’s girlfriend distracts with her PDA, and Elaine rudely bangs on the counter while the Soup Nazi to Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. Later, Elaine drives the Soup Nazi out of town when she finds his secret recipes — from mulligatawny to corn and crab chowder — in the armoire he gives Kramer. “No soup for you,” Elaine taunts the Soup Nazi, in one of her most vindictive moments ever.

Pretzels 

Episode: “The Alternate Side” (Season 3, Episode 11)

Kramer is about to get his big break in an industry that, like all of his other industries, he has no real vested interest. He’s been offered a pivotal role in a Woody Allen movie, as the guy who delivers the line, “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” But the enigmatic (or entirely straightforward, depending on your personal interpretation) line doesn’t haunt just Kramer. Throughout the episode, we see how these cunning pretzels induce thirst — both literal and figurative — in all the characters.

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Junior Mints

Episode: “The Junior Mint” (season 4, Episode 20)

“The Junior Mint” is one of those Seinfeld episodes that really reaffirm what absurdly selfish assholes George, Elaine, Jerry, and Kramer are. Elaine changes her relationship status with Roy, the modern artist undergoing a hospital stay, as his weight fluctuates. During a good period of their relationship, Jerry and Kramer observe Roy’s splenectomy from the gallery above the operating room, and inadvertently drop a Junior Mint in his open stomach. He appears to be on the brink of death due to an infection, until George turns his morale around by buying thousands of dollars’ worth of his art — which he purchased precisely because it would appreciate when Roy died. Oh, and Elaine dumps Roy again, obviously.

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Big Salad

Episode: “The Big Salad” (Season 6, Episode 2)

Elaine asking George to pick her up a “big salad” — one of her usual orders from Monk’s — leads to a break-up between George and his girlfriend Julie. You see, George purchased the big salad, but Julie handed it to Elaine and took credit for the favor. And of course Constanza can’t keep his mouth shut about the big salad. “What’s in the big salad?” George asks snarkily at one point, to which Jerry replies, “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.”

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Twix Bar

Episode: “The Dealership” (Season 9, Episode 11)

In “The Dealership,” the Twix bar — i.e., the “only candy with the cookie crunch” — continues Seinfeld‘s tendency to prove how central the constant quest for nourishment is to life’s overall absurdity. As we follow George into emotional hell as he tries to extract a Twix from a machiavellian vending machine, the episode gets under our skin: What if it were us? What if we were next? What if next time we went to a vending machine, our Twix didn’t fall from its holy heights? The terror stays with us, and will follow us every time we see our uncertain reflection in the vending machine glass — a helpless ghost floating atop the sinister, controlling forces of Doritos, Baby Ruth, Lay’s, and yes, Twix.

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Arby’s

Episodes: “The Dealership” (Season 9, Episode 11); “The Burning” (Season 9, Episode 16)

Arby’s is David Puddy’s favorite restaurant, so it comes up a few times throughout his turbulent courtship with Elaine. She agrees to go there with him for lunch in “The Dealership,” to celebrate his promotion to salesman. (George eats Arby’s later that episode too.) Five episodes later, Puddy dismisses Elaine’s concerns about her going to hell by blurting out what would become his signature phrase: “Feels like an Arby’s night.” It’s funny because Arby’s isn’t even a prevalent fast food chain in New York City.

Atomic Subs

Episode: “The Strike” (Season 9, Episode 10)

Elaine eats 23 terrible sandwiches in order to become a “submarine captain” at Atomic Sub (i.e., get her 24th sub free). Her plan is foiled when she realizes she’s inadvertently given her Atomic Sub card to a man she nicknamed “Denim Vest,” who asked for her phone number (she gave him a fake). Elaine becomes so obsessed with getting a free sandwich that she tracks down “Denim Vest,” who “forgets” the sub card and then gives Elaine a fake number (because she looks so rundown).

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Bagels

Episode: “The Strike” (Season 9, Episode 10)

Bagels introduce us to the unfathomable idea that Kramer may have once actually had a job — as a bagel-smith at H&H Bagels. After 12 years on strike, his former employer is finally giving in to his absurd demands of $5.35 an hour, and so Kramer can return to work. A technical error involving these very bagels also, later, leads to Elaine’s extreme physical transformation.

Chips and Dip

Episodes: “The Implant” (Season 4, Episode 19); “The Millennium” (Season 8, Episode 20)

In “The Implant,” George plays the dutiful boyfriend when he travels to Detroit for his girlfriend’s aunt’s wake. While there, he “double-dips” a chip and is caught by the girlfriend’s brother, thus spawning the now widely used term. In “The Millennium,” Kramer reprises his role of wealthy industrialist H.E. Pennypacker, amidst Elaine’s scheme to take down a store called Putumayo. Instead of ruining the clothes, Kramer inadvertently drops one of the desiccant packets from the wares into Putumayo’s free salsa. Jerry’s girlfriend’s stepmother inadvertently eats the desiccant on a chip while shopping and is poisoned.

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Bosco

Episode: “The Secret Code” (Season 7, Episode 7)

Does Bosco — the chocolate syrup, that is — contain the meaning of life? J. Peterman’s mother seems to think so; after George reveals his secret code for just about everything to her (which is, by the way, “Bosco”), knowing that she’s dying and exploiting her as a means to get something off his chest, she screams the word publicly in her final moment, as though proclaiming her discovery of the key to existence. The episode is the paragon of George’s — and the show’s — delicious pettiness.

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Babka

Episode: “The Dinner Party” (Season 5, Episode 13)

Of all of Seinfeld‘s food recommendations, this is perhaps the one to take the most seriously; it’s hard to imagine that, after “The Dinner Party,” whose opening scenes are merely about the failure to procure the venerable chocolate babka, sales of the somewhat obscure pastry loaf didn’t skyrocket. Why wouldn’t they? It’s the perfect combination of crumbly, doughy, and gooey. The chocolate version, that is. Seinfeld has never been quite so incisive and accurate in its portrayal of life’s layering of major disappointments (like the complex, layered inside of a babka, shall we say?): Elaine and Jerry end up having to purchase a “lesser babka” — a cinnamon babka. The failed attempt reads as especially crushing once you, yourself, have tried both babkas.

Black and White Cookie 

Episode: “The Dinner Party” (Season 5, Episode 13)

Seinfeld’s manner of trivializing everything extends, in a less welcome way, to race relations in “The Dinner Party,” with Jerry explaining, “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.” Apart from the unpleasantness of the notion of the show’s tendency toward ethnic caricature, this would-be-funny pastry-based treatise is simply untrue: my trust in Seinfeld’s food choices was tested when, as a tot, I took the recommendation and tried one such cookie, and was startled by its sogginess, and by the artifice of its yin yang. Such a purportedly ideological cookie should back it up with flavorful pizzazz. A classic, yes, but not mine.

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Sex Pastrami

Episode: “The Blood” (Season 9, Episode 4)

Three different foods are at the center of “The Blood” (see: the following two entires), but it’s George’s sex pastrami that really makes the episode. He makes a push to incorporate food into lovemaking with his girlfriend Tara, but after she finds him eating a pastrami sandwich slathered in spicy mustard and watching TV during sex (what he calls “the trifecta”), the deal is off. George “flew too close to the sun on wings of pastrami.” Soon after, Elaine’s weird friend Vivian announces upon meeting George, “I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted cured meats.” They fall to the ground and gorge on meat, a baseball game on TV, and, uh, each other — spicy mustard optional.

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Pudding Skin Singles

Episode: “The Blood” (Season 9, Episode 4)

George gets the idea to make and package his own pudding-skin singles — the pudding skin separated from the pudding itself — when his girlfriend allows some food to be incorporated into their lovemaking. Of course, George is awfully smug about the whole thing, which inevitably blows up in his face.

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Sausages

Episode: “The Blood” (Season 9, Episode 4)

Jerry’s parents become convinced that his health is declining and hire one of their retired friends, Mr. Mandelbaum, to train him. Mandelbaum walks in on Kramer and Newman making sausages in Jerry’s apartment and decides to push Jerry to dangerous extremes, which results in Seinfeld being dragged along the highway by his own car (and thus receiving Newman’s blood in a transfusion). All because of those damn sausages.

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Chinese Food

Episodes: “The Chinese Restaurant” (Season 2, Episode 11); “The Pothole” (Season 8, Episode 16)

Chinese food has significant bearings on Seinfeld’s characters’ mental state. One whole episode — “The Chinese Restaurant” — centers around the wait for a table at a Chinese restaurant, with the stakes getting so high as to result in bribery and ugly bets about stealing food from other customers’ plates. Another episode — “The Pothole” — sees Elaine so desperately craving the flounder from a Chinese delivery place that’s just out of her radius that she pretends to live in a janitor’s closet in the building across the street to get it. These cravings leave them, well, floundering.

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Deli Meats

Episode: “The Slicer” (Season 9, Episode 7)

Kramer — with all the time and, seemingly, money in the world on his hands — can afford to make himself a good sandwich, emerging victorious from the mass of bad sandwiches that Seinfeld posits was ’90s New York. He buys his very own meat slicer to ensure elegance in his cold cuts. The victory is short-lived, however, because Elaine ultimately uses it to inelegantly slice her high heels.

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Vintage Wedding Cake

Episode: “The Frogger” (Season 9, Episode 18)

The dance Elaine does with a $29,000 antique royal wedding cake she discovers in Peterman’s office — and proceeds to eat — says it all, especially in its foreshadowing the dance her innards will soon be doing.

Entenmann’s 

Episode: “The Frogger” (Season 9, Episode 18)

This is the paltry replacement for the exorbitantly priced, stale slice of history Elaine consumed earlier in the episode that results in an antiques dealer doing an appraisal of, yes, an Entenmann’s cake.

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Mutton

Episode: “The Wink” (Season 7, Episode 4)

When Jerry dates Elaine’s meat-loving cousin Holly, he hides the mutton she made him in her grandmother’s vintage napkins and stuffs them in his coat pocket. Elaine is mauled by dogs when she borrows Jerry’s jacket. Later, her boyfriend James’ dogs find the meat napkins, and James turns them into doggie bandanas, which makes Holly furious. The dogs then find Holly’s pork chops, which Jerry stuffed between his couch cushions instead of eating.

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Ice Cream Sundae

Episode: “The Lip Reader” (Season 5, Episode 6)

George’s overwhelming grossness is in rare form throughout “The Lip Reader,” but it all starts when he sensuously devours an ice cream sundae while at the US Open and ends up on TV. Shortly thereafter, George’s girlfriend breaks up with him; later, when Kramer tells George that he saw him on TV with chocolate sauce all over his face, George becomes convinced that he was dumped over this.

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Pez Dispenser

Episode: “The Pez Dispenser” (Season 3, Episode 14)

Elaine and Jerry ruin George’s girlfriend’s piano recital when Jerry busts out a Tweety Bird Pez dispenser in the middle of her performance, which causes Elaine to erupt into laughter. It’s not until much later than the girlfriend realizes this, when she hears Elaine laughing; she promptly breaks up with George. Meanwhile, the Pez dispenser triggers a relapse in the gang’s drug-addicted friend Richie, and Jerry reveals that he’s not addicted to Pez.

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Pie (With Unwashed Bathroom Hands)

Episode: “The Pie” (Season 5, Episode 15)

Whether it’s a pizza pie or a standard pie, if someone’s going to refuse it outright, they should give some form of explanation as opposed to simply staring at the thing and shaking their heads, repulsed. Especially if the reason they’re turned off by said pie is because they saw the person who fondled it into existence urinate without washing their hands. Both Jerry’s and his date’s respective, selfishly cryptic declinations of pie underscore the curious and haunting otherness of those with whom we become “intimate.” Pie, it turns out, is the emblem of solipsism — each little circle of horror representing its own, unreachable secrets. Leave it to Seinfeld to go far deeper than berries and apples.

Chocolate Éclair

Episode: “The Gymnast” (Season 6, Episode 6)

George gets a second chance with his girlfriend Lindsay, only to have her mother catch him eating an éclair from her trashcan. George contests that, because the pastry was sitting atop the trash pile on a magazine, it was not contaminated, but Jerry insists, “That’s trash.” Despite his bum status, George gets yet another chance with Lindsay, which of course he screws up as well.

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Snickers

Episode: “The Pledge Drive” (Season 6, Episode 3)

Elaine’s boss, Mr. Pitt, eats his Snickers bars with a knife and fork “He probably doesn’t want to get chocolate on his hands — that’s the way these high-society types eat their candy bars,” George offers up, adopting the practice himself so as to appear classy to his co-workers at the Yankees. The trend then sweeps the city.

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Marble Rye

Episode: “The Rye” (Season 7, Episode 11)

The titular rye is actually a selfless food within the world of Seinfeld. While marble rye is glorious, the episode is more about the manners surrounding a marble rye than the marble rye itself. As a vessel for sharp — and crucial — social commentary, the rye is serving the greater good. Like most Seinfeld episodes, “The Rye” asks a Big Question: when you bring a rye, or any food, for that matter, to a dinner and it goes untouched, do you bring it home with you? The Big Answer, George finds out, is no, and suddenly he’s in the predicament of needing to sneak a marble rye back into his in-laws’ apartment — a predicament that involves a break-in, a rye theft, and the dangling of the hefty loaf from a fishing rod.

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Beef-A-Reeno

Episode: “The Rye” (Season 7, Episode 11)

How, you may ask, could an episode that as expertly incorporates one food also incorporate another with just as much genius? “The Rye” is, perhaps, the Seinfeld magnum opus of food farce, with two foods battling one another to ensure the George’s failure. You see, as mentioned, George is trying to sneak a rye back into his in-laws’ apartment; in order to ensure that it’s vacated, he sets up the couple on a horse-and-buggy ride through Central Park, led by Kramer. Meanwhile, Kramer has been wondering what to do with the surplus of Beef-A-Reeno — a canned fictional beef product — he bought at a reduced price; he feeds it to the horses that’ll be leading the romantic ride, who ultimately kill it with their nauseating flatulence, leading the in-laws to return home before the rye scheme is complete.

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Cornish Game Hen 

Episode: “The Rye” (Season 7, Episode 11)

“The Rye” has yet another set of wry food jokes up its yeasty sleeve: The Cornish Game Hen. This petite bird is used as the focal point of the class divide between George Costanza and Susan Ross, with the Costanzas being vocally baffled by the diminutive bird that’s being served at the Ross’, as well as the philosophical and reproductive questions it clearly raises.

Poppy Seeds

Episode: “The Shower Head” (Season 7, Episode 16)

Elaine’s ambitions of going to Africa for work are stymied when she tests positive for opium in a urine test. But in New York, and especially Seinfeld‘s New York, pastry is much more ubiquitous than the antiquated drug: Elaine hasn’t been hanging around opium dens too much, but has, it turns out, been eating too many poppy seed muffins.

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Calzones

Episode: “The Calzone” (Season 7, Episode 20)

Larry David gets his shining acting moment (though we still only see the back of his head) with his rooster-ish imitation of George Steinbrenner, which is at its best in “The Calzone,” as he clucks with growing fervor for the deformed pizza. George has managed to ingratiate himself with the Yankees owner by bringing him calzones from Paisano’s. But because he’s George, a misconstrued, tiny act of pettiness gets him banned from the restaurant. To maintain his newly heightened status at work, he has to enlist Newman and Kramer to procure calzones for him, which becomes a mess when Kramer asks the owner to bake his clothing in the oven and pays in all pennies. Is the calzone representative of George’s untapped potential? Of a pure, productive, and potent core, encased in crust? Oh, definitely.

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Lobster / Scrambled Eggs with Lobster

Episode: “The Hamptons” (Season 5, Episode 21)

When the gang travels out to The Hamptons, Kramer inadvertently steals a commercial lobster trap. Everyone feasts on the find, except Jerry’s kosher girlfriend, Rachel, who resists temptation. But to seek revenge on her laughing at his tiny penis (he was in the pool), George serves Rachel scrambled eggs that have lobster in them.

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Risotto

Episode: “The Mango” (Season 5, Episode 1)

When George’s girlfriend has an intense full-body reaction to her risotto, George begins to see the wet rice-pasta dish as his sexual rival. To be fair, I’d be more DTF with risotto, too.

Mango

Episode: “The Mango” (Season 5, Episode 1)

The mango is seen to be the solution to all male sexual underperformance, even for George, with the fierce competition of the risotto looming over him.

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Muffin Tops

Episode: “The Muffin Tops” (Season 8, Episode 21)

Before “muffin tops” became the derogatory term for a body type, they were just the place where “the muffin breaks free of the pan and does its own thing.” They were the crux of one of Seinfeld‘s funniest episodes, in which Elaine inspires Lippman with her love of the muffin top (and disregard for the rest of the muffin). He then opens a shop — Top of the Muffin to You — behind her back. Rarely has Seinfeld been so spot-on about a food as in this searing critique of muffin bottoms, which doesn’t so much provide solutions as ask all the right questions. 

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Cereal

Episode: Throughout the series

Jerry’s just really into cereal, and goes to great lengths to make sure he has many different variations of the big brands on his shelf.

Drake’s Coffee Cake

Episode: “The Suicide” (Season 3, Episode 15)

After a man in he building tries to commit suicide and ends up in a coma, Jerry gets cozy with his girlfriend, Gina. Newman spots the two together and threatens to tell the suicidal neighbor of their tryst, until Jerry bribes him with a package of Drake’s coffee cake. Of course, Newman tells the comatose man everything anyway, upon his waking up.

Lobster Bisque

Episode: “The Yada Yada” (Season 8, Episode 19)

When George becomes outraged that his girlfriend may have “yada-yada’ed” over sex with her ex, Elaine counters that she too has “yada-yada’ed” over sex instead of telling the full story. “I met this lawyer, we went out to dinner, I had the lobster bisque, we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again,” she explains, to which Jerry says, “You yada-yada’ed over the best part.” “No, I mentioned the bisque,” Elaine says, in one of her all-time greatest retorts.

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Salsa

Episode: “The Pitch” (Season 4, Episode 3)

As Jerry and George are discussing plans for their upcoming TV show, George gets distracted by their diner table’s lack of salsa. “Salsa is now the #1 condiment in America,” George asserts, backing his claim that salsa should be placed on restaurant tables alongside ketchup. Which then leads to a routine about “seltzer” versus “salsa” (which really only sound the same if you have a belligerent New York accent, like George and Jerry), and leads George to realize that this — which is to say, nothing — should be the premise of their collaborative TV show. And so, from the absence of salsa, a Seinfeld  is born within Seinfeld. 

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Shrimp

Episode: “The Comeback” (Season 8, Episode 13)

Shrimp serve a brief but potent purpose on Seinfeld: that of proving George’s impotency in the face of potential blows to his ego. When, at a meeting, he guzzles shrimp, his colleague remarks, “Hey George, the ocean called; they’re running out of shrimp.” George can’t formulate the proper retort, but much later thinks of this zinger: “Well, the Jerk Store called, and they’re running out of you.” Shrimp may not be the centerpiece of an episode, but their diminutive deliciousness is the catalyst for all of George’s woes herein.

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T-Bone Steak

Episode: “The Maid” (Season 9, Episode 19)

George is trying to get his coworkers at Kruger to call him T-Bone, so he orders T-bone steaks for lunch. The nickname sticks with another employee, and George is deemed Koko the Monkey instead, after he’s seen freaking out with a banana in his hand.

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Butter

Episode: “The Butter Shave” (Season 9, Episode 1)

Never content to take the conventional route, Kramer finds that butter serves as a silkier shaving cream than whatever’s in Jerry’s medicine cabinet. Kramer’s obsessive personality leads him to spread butter all over his body, and he inadvertently cooks in the sun while laying out. Newman struggles to not take up cannibalism as a result of Kramer’s crispy, buttery skin.

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Ovaltine 

Episode: “The Butter Shave” (Season 9, Episode 1)

“Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round, the jar is round, they should call it Round-tine.” Though Jerry is trying to sabotage his nemesis Bania’s act, there’s something winsome about this flattest of jokes that actually makes it better than Jerry’s strangely underwhelming stand-up. Perhaps it’s because it’s just so true.

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Chunky Bar

Episode: “The Doodle” (Season 6, Episode 20)

While Jerry’s apartment is fumigated for fleas, Elaine must look for an important manuscript she left inside. She doesn’t find it, but does discover a heap of Chunky Bar wrappers between the couch cushions. It is then that Jerry realizes that Newman gave him fleas, as Chunky Bars are his nemesis’s favorite candy bar.

Mackinaw Peaches

Episode: “The Doodle” (Season 6, Episode 20)

Kramer’s beloved (and fictional) Mackinaw peaches come from Oregon and are only ripe two weeks a year. “They’re like having a circus in your mouth!” Kramer proclaims between rapturous moans. Later, after he inadvertently spends time in Jerry’s apartment while it’s being fumigated, Kramer can’t taste the Mackinaws.

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Pecans

Episode: “The Doodle” (Season 6, Episode 20)

Jerry accidentally eats pecans that his girlfriend, Shelly, sucked on and discarded on her plate. He’s supremely grossed out, and its causes a hygienic rift between him and Shelly that escalates when she insists he uses her toothbrush.

Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt

Episode: “The Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt” (Season 5, Episode 7)

Politics and yogurt collide — as they always should (take a hint, Hillary) — in this episode about a frozen yogurt scandal that sees New Yorkers swarming to get the hottest new health food under the misconception that it’s fat free. But Rudy Giuliani is among those duped by the yogurt, and after he receives a lab result (which isn’t even actually his) revealing high cholesterol, he vows to change the city’s policies on false advertising.

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Kenny Rogers Roasters Chicken

Episode: “The Chicken Roaster” (Season 8, Episode 8)

In one of the more elaborate Seinfeld plots involving food, a Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant opens across the street from Jerry and Kramer’s apartment building, complete with a neon red sign that shines right into Kramer’s bedroom. Jerry and Kramer swap apartments as a result; it takes little time for Jerry to adopt some of Kramer’s idiosyncrasies, while Cosmo normals out a bit — until Newman gets him addicted to Kenny Rogers chicken. Jerry finds out about Kramer’s chicken problem and plots to get the restaurant shut down, by contaminating the chicken with wet rat fur from George’s ridiculous new hat. Kramer is left speechless, besides terrified utterances of, “Kenny.”

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Turkey 

Episode: “The Merv Griffin Show” (Season 9, Episode 6)

With its high tryptophan levels, turkey can give you that lovely feeling of post-bingeing drowsiness. Master of all food-coma inducers, it can also, Seinfeld tells us, be insidiously used to make your girlfriend pass out so you and your friend can play with her rare toy collection. To add insult to injury, Jerry and George also serve this poor, inconsequential girlfriend boxed wine — had they known then what we  know now about the arsenic levels of boxed wine, this could have made for an even darker plot than what they already had going (though it wouldn’t have been unprecedented).

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Fusilli

Episode: “The Fusilli Jerry” (Season 6, Episode 21)

This episode proves just how foundational food is to the Seinfeld world: the fact that an entire character can be recreated in corkscrew pasta speaks to these people’s contents: often seen as soulless, “The Fusilli Jerry” eerily suggests that what lies beneath the surface are neither souls, minds, nor beating hearts. It’s all food. It’s always been food. 

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Jujyfruits

Episode: “The Opposite” (Season 5, Episode 22)

Elaine’s budding relationship — they’re never really more than budding, for reasons such as the following — ends because she buys Jujyfruits before heading to the hospital where her boyfriend has been rushed after getting into an accident. The prizing of candy over intimacy speaks to the characters’ general disregard for other human beings in favor of instant gratification, and is interestingly linked to the episode where a Junior Mint falls from Kramer’s box, into the open body of a man in surgery, and almost kills him. AI be damned — Seinfeld has proven the human race has already created something more valuable than human life: snacks.

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Chicken Salad Sandwich on Rye

Episode: “The Opposite” (Season 5, Episode 22)

In light of his misbehavior in “The Hamptons” (see: lobster), George decides to do the opposite of his natural instinct in order to correct his mistakes. He starts by ordering a chicken salad sandwich on rye, a side of potato salad, and a cup of tea — what he perceives to be the opposite of his usual lunch order at Monk’s (tuna salad on toast, side of coleslaw, cup of coffee). A beautiful woman, Victoria, orders the same thing, which prompts George to ask her out.

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Peas

Episode: “The Engagement” (Season 7, Episode 1)

What’s the deal with peas? In “The Engagament,” Jerry’s intimacy issues are put in embarrassing perspective. After George has asked for Susan Ross’ hand in marriage, Jerry breaks up with a woman because she eats peas one at a time.

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Gyro

Episode: “The Cigar Store Indian” (Season 5, Episode 10)

Getting a limb stuck in the subway door is always a worry, but it’s even more worrisome if that limb happens to be carrying something as precious and vulnerable as a gyro. Sadly, this very thing happens to Kramer, and of course, cruel, gyro-coveting place that New York is, the meat pouch is pried from Kramer’s helpless hand.

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BBQ Sauce

Episode: “The Doll” (Season 7, Episode 17)

Jerry buys a bottle of BBQ sauce that has a man on the label who resembles Charles Grodin, with the intention of bringing the bottle on his upcoming Charles Grodin Show appearance. The bottle gets smashed on the plane home from Memphis, so Jerry asks Susan’s particularly insufferable former roommate, Sally Weaver (Kathy Griffin), to bring him another bottle of this sauce when she comes to town. She buys him a case of a different, “much better” BBQ sauce instead, subsequently ruining his Grodin appearance.

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Cantaloupe

Episode: “The Ex-Girlfriend” (Season 2, Episode 1)

To read the script of “The Ex-Girlfriend” is to see the absurdist repetition of Seinfeld‘s humor successfully in play:

JERRY: I don’t want cantaloupe now.

KRAMER: You’ve never had cantaloupe like this before.

JERRY: I only eat cantaloupe at certain times.

KRAMER: Jerry. This is great cantaloupe.

The more “cantaloupe” is stated — and it’s continuously stated throughout the episode, as each character ultimately comes in contact with Kramer’s cantaloupe obsession, and then with his dismay at the plummeting quality of the cantaloupe — the more cantaloupe subsumes their existences, underscoring the beautiful vacuity that is their lives.