Archive for ‘Seinfeld’

August 23rd, 2011

Chinese take out 2

Is it me, or do you agree that the perfect, white Chinese take out container is a classic piece of pop art?From pop art to pop culture, Chinese food has become a big part of American life. Don’t believe me? Just turn on your TV.  What, it’s already on? Good.  Then you’ve probably noticed, as I have, that every American TV show has at least one scene where the characters are eating, ordering or running-over-the-bringer of Chinese food. From the drama around the dinner table at Tony Soprano’s house, to the nothing-ness across the river at Jerry Seinfeld’s place, Chinese food is everywhere and I want to join them for every meal.

Ready for the educational part of the show? The classic container I was raving about was actually invented for carrying oysters. Somehow this odd device was given the name, the Oyster Pail. Once the take out food became popular, Chinese restaurants adopted them and the oysters were replaced by orange chicken.

This should make you want a Chinese tonight!

June 15th, 2011

Black and white cookie

I love Seinfeld.  For a while, that show about nothing became the main reason I stayed in America.  It introduced me to a completely different culture.  Where would a girl from Tokyo learn what a moil was?  Who, if not Jerry, was going to teach me about the cultural significance of Jewish Deli food?  There’s one item in the Jewish culinary world, apart from the salted, cured meats, that’s especially noteworthy, the black and white cookie.You’ve probably seen the big, two-toned cookie a million times at Jewish delis but have you ever tried it?  For the uninitiated, it’s a big and vivid black and white creation tightly wrapped in plastic.  The name “cookie” on this sweet is misleading, and resembles its appearance more than its texture, because it’s more like a thin vanilla cake with two semi-circles of brown and white icing (chocolate and vanilla, although the white icing is sometimes lemon flavored).  I didn’t grow up with any kind of frosting, so at first, it didn’t look very appetizing.  But after seeing a Seinfeld episode, dinner party, I began fantasizing about this delicasy.  In the episode, Jerry and Elaine are at a bakery, where Jerry explains his method of eating the black and white cookie, which involves getting both vanilla and chocolate in the same bite.  His theory?  ‘If people would only look to the cookie’ all racial problems would be solved.  Jerry then raises his cookie in a salute of brotherhood to an African-American gentleman across the store, eating the very same, racially balanced dessert, who returns the gesture.  Surprisingly, it took me over a decade to try the black and white cookie in person, but thanks to the location being Yankee Stadium, it was worth the wait.  To this day, I don’t remember if the Yankees won, but I still remember that cookie.  My first thought after the first bite was, “What?  it’s soft?”  Remembering Jerry’s technique, I tried to get a little bit of both colors in each bite.  To be honest, and with no racial undertones whatsoever, I just prefer the white side.  Sorry Jerry.  The reason?  The black side’s icing usually doesn’t taste anything like chocolate.  It’s one of these “chocolate-y” flavors that doesn’t quite get it right.  Yet, if this cookie had only white icing, it would lose 100% of its cache AND its name would make no sense.  So why produce this riddle of a cookie?Maybe Jerry is right.   Maybe the appeal is just the sentiment reflected on this cookie– In a crazy world, maybe people can only find harmony in the balance of icing on the smiling face of this cookie…  Or maybe it’s just I’ve watched Seinfeld way too many times and I like cake.