Look at the cookie, Ellen. Cinnamon no babka takes a back seat. A hot bowl of Mulligatawny will hit the spot. These pretzels are making me thirsty. You had to have huge Salad Big Stein wants a calzone! kasha
“Seinfeld” is peppered with food references, but so far fans haven’t had the show’s creators-blessed way to get their fill. Thirty-three years after the hit series was created, East Providence’s Brendan Kirby and Julie Tremaine, who splits her time between Providence and Los Angeles, have released “Seinfeld: The Official Cookbook.”
No, it doesn’t turn into a coffee table – but at least it wasn’t flagged to Brentano.
Fans, take note: the book is written, literally, in reference. For example, a salsa recipe begins: “I said ‘seltzer!’ Not ‘salsa’! … Urban Sombrero is not included in this recipe. As for Morty Seinfeld’s #1 Dad T-Shirt, we’re not sure ‘how official any of these rankings actually are, but… for ‘Seinfeldian’ purposes, this is number one.”
There are dozens of recipes, from the obvious — marble rye, big salads — to the more obscure — hummus (“You asked for a piece of gum because you thought your breath smelled like hummus”) or dates (Jerry played a lot of dates).
It’s a fun ride for casual fans and die-hards alike. So I called Kirby, host of WPRI’s “The Road Show,” and Tremaine, a freelance travel and food writer who writes for The Globe, to talk about their book and show.
Q: That’s a great idea. How did this come together?
Tremaine: Insight Editions does many licensed books. I worked with them on cookbooks for “Supernatural,” “The Office,” Disney Villain recipes. They came to me with “Seinfeld.” I watched “Seinfeld” as a child, but it was not fresh in my mind. But I was like, “I have a friend who’s a ‘Seinfeld’ super-fan – she quotes it every time I talk to her.”
Kirby: I was thrilled. I have an unhealthy working knowledge of all things “Seinfeld.” I spent my teenage years obsessed with the show – not surprisingly, there were no dates to be seen.
So I’m really proud of the deep-cut for true “Seinfeld” fans.
Tremaine: When I approached Brendan, he asked me two questions: Number one, do I need to cook something?
Tremaine: My answer was no. And two, he started dropping references.
Kirby: Unknowingly… I have been preparing for this project all my life.
How do you limit yourself? Many foods are mentioned.
Tremaine: The goal was 60 recipes. We had many other ideas; Some were a little too gross.
Tremaine: I was like, nobody wants to eat that.
Kirby: I will say as a comedian and a writer, Rebellion makes me very happy.
So what is your favorite recipe?
Tremaine: I was most afraid of making babka. it is [felt] Complicated and scary. Turns out, it’s really easy to make and it’s delicious.
Brendan doesn’t cook.
Kirby: But if anyone wants me to make any of these recipes, you’re welcome. That’s why I’m so impressed with Julie’s ability to do this — I love to write and I know the references, but I’m not opening my own mehndi or anything.
What are some recipes that didn’t make the cut?
Tremaine: We went back and forth on the soup nazi soup.
There is a soup recipe Ellen is reading aloud Later he finds it in the armoire. Is that one there?
Tremaine: Whoah. What is that recipe? i don’t know
Kirby: I’m looking for it now. [pause] wild mushrooms
Tremaine: No, we don’t have that. OK, now we have to write a sequel.
You also have muffin-tops, which is interesting — I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a muffin-top recipe.
Tremaine: It’s basically just a life-hack. There are muffin pans, and there are muffin-top pans. So this is just a muffin recipe.
Have you made all of these recipes?
Tremaine: Yes, we started with names and food lists. And from there, it was: “Okay. How do we turn these into food?” It was research and recipe development. The soup was a lot of iterations. I went through a few variations of chicken broccoli soup until I got it — now I love it so much that I make it twice a month.
I cooked most of it in Rhode Island. The first round of recipe-testing was for Thanksgiving last year. I made butter-shaved turkey. Turkey with Kramer’s Head – This image has been etched into my brain since the first time I saw it.
So what makes this the “official” “Seinfeld” cookbook?
Tremaine: It is officially licensed through the company that owns the IP in “Seinfeld.” It goes through the production company; They allow list of recipes, text, references.
What is your favorite episode?
Kirby: It is almost impossible to answer. i can’t i won’t [laughs] Whenever I am asked a question, I have a different answer. I love going back to the early episodes, because even though they hadn’t hit their stride yet, the greatness and fun was already there.
Tremaine: Black and white cookies. My whole family is from New York; I spent a lot of time in bakeries and delis as a child. When I watched that episode, I was like: This is my favorite treat, I can’t believe it made Jerry sick.
It’s funny — there are scenes that I laughed at in fifth grade, and rewatching episodes over the years you find all these other layers and lines.
Kirby: As I got older it all started to click. Now as an adult, it’s like, “Oh, this episode is funny These are Reasons too.” And it’s been off since 1998. It’s a testament to staying power and cultural relevance.
This interview has been edited and condensed.