So a couple weeks ago Central Perk (a coffee shop named after the one on the show Friends) opened in NYC and it reminded me of all the things I loved and hated about the 90s. I watched Seinfeld (hilarious) and Roseanne (badass) but hated Friends- to me it marked the rise of the "goofy man-child" and the "likable because they are self deprecating woman" which I have no tolerance for. Why can't a woman who says " I am hot" not be likable? I still don't get it. And of course there was the beginnings of Sex and the City (which I watched when popular but cringe at the sight of now) it did so little for woman (such superficial and characters that lacked any depth), you are actually better off watching Golden Girls for an edgier view of woman and dating!
In terms of music, I loved grunge-Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, Radiohead, Tool-and severely disliked Spice Girls, Britney Spears and any such girl and boy band-pop-sap. Fashion brought the rise of the supermodel--Versace, Chanel jackets and gold chains paired with jeans and those hideous fanny packs. Men wore those super sized jeans and Beverly Hills 90210 pushed teen fashions like a vengeance. I leaned more towards the 70s vintage (Reality Bites) revival thing with knee high socks when I could get away with it. Movie-wise, I loved Boogie Nights, Rushmore, 12 Monkeys, Life is Beautiful, The Sixth Sense, Sling Blade, JFK, Jackie Brown (still a "whole lotta woman"), Magnolia. Lost Highway, All About my Mother and not interested in the rest of what Hollywood was doing. And except for Husbands and Wives, Woody Allen's (whose films I love) entire movie decade was a disaster. Also Princess Diana died.
In the food and health arena, the 90s introduced the smear campaign against carbs of which we have yet to recover from-via the Atkins diet. The diabolical Snackwells fat-and free Lay's WOW Chips were at the forefront of the "diet food" and "fat free" snacks trends that just made us more overweight. And of course there is the thoughtless Lunchables invention that introduced "busy" parents and the kiddies to processed, high sodium lunches in cute and fun little compartments. We saw over-processed food make there way permanently into our diets. With marketing executives running focus groups to find a niche for their Crystal Pepsi (what the hell was that about?) and followed by such hyper pallative foods (for no good reason but to have you eat more of them) like Vanilla Coke and Wild Cherry Pepsi. And we kept active with those idiotic roller blades and dancing to the "Macarena." Some more benign food trends included restaurants putting truffles on everything, infusing oils, and Thai became the ethnic cuisine du jour and fusion became part of our food vernacular. The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet were introduced into the mainstream by Walter Willet (Harvard), it actually first studied by Ancel Keys in the 40s.
All this to lead to telling you about my latest visit to the Original Soup Man -- a 90s icon spawned from the megalith TV show Seinfeld (Incidentally, Snapple another 90s favorite was popular with Mr. Seinfeld). The "Soup Nazi" first appeared in the 116th episode of Seinfeld in Nov 2, 1995. The character was inspired by Al Yeganeh, a soup vendor in NYC and all the characters loved his soup but soon found that they needed to follow his very strict rules to get it--for they might hear the dreaded "No soup for you! Next! " They loved the mulligatawny soup and the jambalaya, but on my recent visit neither of these soups appeared on the soup list. However, I was assured they will make their appearance by next month. The current Soup Man (mostly franchised) was not at all Nazi-like and divulged that people still talk about the Seinfeld episode. Today you can buy boxed Soup Man soups and they make a lobster roll too.
My choice for the day was the Lobster Bisque--big chunks of lobster for a hole in the wall kiosk. True to tradition, you do get a free slice of crusty baguette, but now you also get an apple and a Lindt chocolate. You better for the hefty 8 bucks for a small soup! Fun for tourists but to be honest, would I go back? No-NEXT!