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Friday, March 3, 2017

The "No Soup For You!" Story

Carol is heating our Lobster Bisque made by The Original Soupman.
It was an ordinary day.  Having a bowl of Lobster Bisque for lunch.  Not just any bowl of soup, but a bowl of "The Original Soupman" Lobster Bisque made with 100% North Atlantic Lobster.  Happened past this free-standing display a week or two ago in the grocery store and as soon as I saw the face on the box, I just had to buy a box.  Many of you might not remember this guy or may not be old enough to remember "The Soup Nazi" episode on NBC's sitcom Seinfeld which was the sixth episode of the seventh season.  
The display at the supermarket.
It first aired in the United States on November 2, 1995.   For weeks everyone greeted one another with "No soup for you!"  Instantly, a New York City soup vendor was made famous.  Al Yeganeh was that soup vendor who inspired the show that Thursday night.  I can still remember hustling home from choir practice that night with my dad so I could watch my favorite TV show, "Seinfeld."  That night's show was inspired by Mr. Yeganeh who dished out soup in this place using very strick rules: "Pick the soup you want!  Have your money ready!  Move to the extreme left after ordering!"  If you did not stick to the rules: "No Soup for you!"  
Al Yeganeh in front of his store on West 55th Street in New York.
The episode on "Seinfeld" made Al a celebrity, but he detested the "Soup Nazi" label.  When Jerry Seinfeld and several members of his production team went to Soup Kitchen International for lunch weeks after "The Soup Nazi" aired, Yeganeh did a "triple take" and then went into a profanity-filled rant about the show had "ruined" his business and demanded an apology.  This was ironic, since whenever the re-run of the show ran, his normally long line would extend around the corner due to increased demand for his soups.  
A constant line in front of the soup kitchen.
Seinfeld was said to have given him an apology which was described as "the most insincere, sarcastic apology ever given."  Yeganeh yelled to him, "No soup for you!" and ejected them from the restaurant.  The Original Soup Man closed his Soup Kitchen International at 259-A West 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan in 2004 and began the Original Soup Man chain which eventually led to his re-opening of Soup Kitchen International.  
Larry Thomas played Al on the Seinfeld episode.  He
was nominated for an Emmy for his efforts.
Some of his famous soups, as you may recall if you watched that Seinfeld episode, were: lobster bisque, mulliga- tawny, crab bisque and lentil.  If you have never seen the "Soup Nazi" episode, check on your TV programming and see if it doesn't offer Seinfeld re-runs.  Watching it once isn't enough though.  You'll get hooked on the episode, as Carol and I have, and will watch it time and time again until you can repeat just about every line in the half-hour show.  As for our bowl of Lobster Bisque we bought at the grocery store ... the show was better than the soup!!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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