“The Big Salad” is one of those episodes of “Seinfeld” that still irks some fans to this day. In the episode, George (Jason Alexander) gets upset when his girlfriend, Julie (Michelle Forbes), gets credit for picking up a “big salad” for Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) that George paid for just because Julie happened to hand Elaine the bag. It may seem like a trifling thing to get that upset about, but George Costanza has always been notorious for making mountains out of molehills, and here he manages to alienate yet another girlfriend because he insists on getting the credit he deserves. But was he wrong? lot of fans actually agree that George was right on this one. In a 2022 thread in the r/seinfeld subreddit, u/Adhitik asked if anyone else felt that George actually had a point on this one, and a pretty overwhelming number of people agreed. “George is often not wrong, he’s just an a**hole about it,” wrote one Redditor with a now-deleted account. Others backed up that sentiment, such as u/Gridguy2020 who gave the very short but accurate answer: “Wrong, no. Petty, yes.” Redditor u/heyitsvonage brought up the point that the very fact that Julie confronts George about telling Elaine that he paid for the salad proves that Julie wanted to take credit for the salad all along.
Unsurprisingly, like many “Seinfeld” episodes, this plot point didn’t come out of thin air but from the real-life experiences of series co-creator Larry David. It turns out that the big salad incident is actually something that happened during production.
Larry David eventually got his thank you
Jason Alexander as George mocking Julia Louis-Dreyfus as ElaineNBC
In a featurette packaged with the special features in the Season 6 DVD release of “Seinfeld,” Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld explained the true story of the big salad incident. Apparently, David asked editor Janet Ashikaga if she wanted him to get her anything while he was going out to get something to eat. Seinfeld’s assistant, Carol, ended up handing the salad to Ashikaga, and thus Carol got credit for it. “And I thought, you know, I bought the damn salad,” David said in the interview, dripping with bitterness.
FoundationINTERVIEWS caught up with Ashikaga in 2014, and she gave her side of the now infamous story. According to her, it was Carol Leifer, one of the show’s writers and story editors, who took credit for the salad. This slightly contradicts Seinfeld’s version of the story, as IMDb seems to suggest it was his assistant, Carol Brown. It’s unclear which person got their Carols mixed up.
According to Ashikaga, David never directly addressed her about the salad, but as soon as she saw the dailies for the episode she got up and walked to David’s office and said “Thank you for the salad, Larry.” Ashikaga went on to talk about how this was proof to her that “Larry was always thinking story,” and that anything that happened could potentially become an episode. Thankfully, the real-life version of the story ended pretty tamely, and doesn’t seem to have ended in any breakups.