True confessions: I’ve never watched an episode of the “Gilmore Girls,” the long-running television series about Lorelai and Rory, a single mother and her daughter living in Stars Hollow, a quirky, picturesque (and fictional) Connecticut town.
But I heard the Flying M Coffeehouse in Downtown Boise would be joining cafes across the country on Oct. 5 to celebrate the “Gilmoreversary,” the anniversary of the first “Gilmore Girls” episode, by giving away free coffee in special Gilmore cups. The Gilmoreversary also teased the show’s upcoming revival on Netflix on Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving.
I thought I’d go to Flying M and check it out, figuring that at 6 a.m., I’d be the only one there. How very wrong I was.
A line of fans, some who had gotten up at 4 a.m. to go downtown, snaked down the block as far as I could see (in the dark). After speaking with a few of them, like Angela Kehrer, who named her daughter Lorelai after the show, and the Miller family, who showed up three generations strong, I realized that there was something going on: Gilmore love runs deep in the Treasure Valley.
Kristi Carlson, a Gilmore fan from California, loved the show so much she wrote a cookbook,“Eat Like a Gilmore,” which was released just in time for the Netflix release and any binge-watch parties it might inspire.
The book has gotten good reviews from “Entertainment Weekly,” “Buzzfeed” and others. It features more than 100 recipes for dishes “eaten, served or mentioned on the show.” The book is even a fun read for the mere Gilmore-curious like myself. Each recipe includes a write-up of when the particular item appeared and under what circumstances.
We enlisted three local fans — Allison Maier, Carey Shoufler and Polly Breneman — to try out a few recipes from the cookbook and report back.
Founders Day punch
with Allison Maier (communication and outreach coordinator, Idaho Humane Society)
Maier discovered the “Gilmore Girls” through DVDs. The “old binge-watching way,” she said. A fan since high school, Maier watched all seven original Gilmore seasons with her mom.
Maier, who is also a writer, said she has used the show’s clever dialogue and story arcs as inspiration for her own work.
“You wish life were like that. But at the same time, the show seems so real. It’s funny, but it consistently makes me cry,” said Maier. “I think it has that perfect bittersweet balance.”
Maier will be working on Friday when the show comes out on Netflix.
“But I might have to tell everyone I’m unavailable all weekend,” she said.
Maier tried out the vodka-based Founders Day Punch. It’s a deceptively strong Stars Hollow favorite featured in an episode she’s watched several times and has used to convert co-workers into Gilmore fans.
Maier’s verdict: The punch is a good summer drink. “It’s one of those deceptive drinks where you don’t taste the alcohol,” she said. She suggests serving the cocktail in small glasses.
The recipe suggests serving the punch over ice, but Maier said it’s better with no ice. Founders Day Punch contains a lot of fruit juice. She cut back on the pineapple juice for a little more balance.
Chocolate chocolate chocolate ice cream and homemade Twinkies
with Carey Shoufler (law related education director, Idaho Law Foundation)
“I see Lorelai as a kindred spirit,” said Carey Shoufler, referring to the show’s central character, played by Lauren Graham.
“I spent my child’s life being a single parent. Like Lorelai, I have a really close relationship with my child.”
Shoufler also appreciates the show’s many ’80s pop culture references.
“And the dialogue is brilliant,” said Shoufler. “It’s witty and slightly sarcastic.”
But of course it is. As Shoufler points out, the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, named her production company “Dorothy Parker Drank Here” after the famously sharp-tongued literary wit of Algonquin Round Table fame.
Shoufler, who just opened her own made-to-order pie company (Ruby Isabel’s Pie in the Sky, which can be found on Facebook), said she isn’t a Black Friday shopper. So “eating Thanksgiving leftovers and watching the new ‘Gilmore Girls’ seems like an appealing way to spend the day.”
Shoufler made Twinkies — intended, in the show, as a surprise for Rory — with a side of chocolate chocolate chocolate ice cream from a Stars Hollow ice cream shop.
Shoufler’s verdict: “If I’m being honest, I've never really been a Twinkie person (give me a Raspberry Zinger any day). But they were fun to make and my son, Jonah, and his friends ate them all last night, so they were loved by someone! The recipe said to fill the baking cups almost full, which was too much. With the second batch, I filled each cup half full, and they turned out better. Also, I think the recipe calls for too much butter; (it) made the cakes a little on the greasy side. The best part was the filling. The meringue was really good.”
“For the ice cream, instead of blending in the mini-chocolate chips at the end like the recipe suggested, I used peppermint chips. It cut some of the richness of so much chocolate. It was another hit with Jonah and his friends. I love making ice cream (it’s a great pie accompaniment), and I will definitely add this recipe to my repertoire. There are a lot of different riffs you could do with this basic recipe. Add orange or cherry or different kinds of nuts.”
Warm potato and chorizo salad
with Polly Breneman (operations manager, The Modern Hotel; co-founder, Idaho’s Blue Girl Red State project)
Polly Breneman said she was a newly single parent looking for TV shows she could watch with her young son, Wylie, when she happened upon “Gilmore Girls.”
The show, with its smart writing and “alternative wholesomeness,” fit the bill.
Like other fans, she appreciates the show’s banter and sarcasm. Her son seems to have taken a lesson from Gilmore word play, said Breneman.
“Wylie knows that the way to get out of trouble with me is to have a witty response,” she said.
For her cooking experiment, Breneman chose a healthy-ish, savory dish (with a distinctly Idaho sensibility): warm potato and chorizo salad. This salad, notes the cookbook, was the healthy part of a guilt-free dinner Sookie, the chef, prepares for Jackson, her produce supplier and beau. It satisfies cravings for both meat and potatoes.
Breneman’s verdict: A good salad, though next time she would roast the potatoes. She used less jalapeno than the recipe called for. “I would also say it’s more of a single bowl meal instead of a side dish,” Breneman said. Verdict from son Wylie: “Delicious.”
Get the book
“Eat Like a Gilmore” by Kristi Carlson, published by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. for $24.99.
Warm Potato and Chorizo Salad
Makes 6-8 servings.
1 pound red or new potatoes, cleaned, quartered
3/4 pound chorizo, ground or with casings removed
1 pound asparagus tips, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound de-stemmed spinach, washed
shredded parmesan cheese for serving
1 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 jalapenos, coarsely chopped (double this if you like a lot of heat)
Boil potatoes: Place quartered potatoes into a Dutch oven. Fill with just enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until tender, roughly 15 minutes. Drain. Cover and set aside.
Cook chorizo: Place chorizo in a deep frying pan. Over medium-high heat, cook until meat turns brownish red. Add cut asparagus to pan. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until asparagus becomes tender (but not soft). Remove from heat.
Make dressing: In a blender of food processor, combine lime juice, cilantro, sour cream, mayonnaise, and jalapeno. Blend until ingredients combine to form a liquid., Pour into a serving pitcher, gravy boat or serving bowl.
Mix salad: In a large serving bowl, mix spinach, potatoes, and chorizo/asparagus mixture. Serve, with dressing on the side and shredded parmesan.
Below are the recipes for the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Ice Cream and the Founders Day Punch. Click above in the photo gallery to see these recipes at a larger size. Photos of the cookbook posted with permission of the author.