The Gilmore Girls Diet: A Profile of Kristi Carlson, author of Eat Like A Gilmore: Daily Cravings

For California-based Kristi Carlson, author of Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Gilmore Girls Fans, published in 2016, was an ode to a show that she identified with as a woman whose life journey was reflected in that of Lorelei Gilmore’s. “She was a strong female character. She was herself, not mainstream and still a very popular and iconic figure,” Carlson said. So Carlson went full-steam ahead with a sequel, Eat Like A Gilmore: Daily Cravings. “I wanted Daily Cravings to double not only as a Gilmore Girls cookbook, but also someone’s go-to cookbook for a dinner or party idea. It’s not just to relive life in Stars Hollow. It’s also to use on a day-to-day basis,” Carlson said.

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Carlson spoke to Harness Magazine the weekend after she wined and dined with actress Rose Abdoo who plays Gypsy, the town mechanic, a traditionally male role. Like Carlson, Abdoo’s support for women’s empowerment translated into her character that loudly declared, “Us Women have to stick together.” In that episode, Gypsy sported a pink ribbon in support of Lorelei post-break-up with Luke. Lorelei made a landslide win with pink ribbons worn by townspeople outnumbering the blue ribbons in support of Luke. The second book, releasing November 6, 2018, Voting Day, reflects how Carlson “identified with women having female mentors, helping each other and giving each other a leg up, just the way men have for centuries,” in the 7-season series.

 

Q: In your description of the book, you mention a chapter dedicated to pies. Was the pre-Thanksgiving publication date intentional because the holiday is so pie-centric?

A: The town festivals were in autumn and having an autumn release date felt the best because the book stays true to being a Gilmore Girl.”

Carlson also cited the New England foliage pictured in the show’s opening credits. In addition to pastries from Westin’s Bakery, there are recipes for delicacies from Taylor’s Ice Cream Shoppe, Al’s Pancake World, and Mrs. Kim’s kitchen, as well as the mother-daughter duo’s choice of carry-out: pizza, Mexican and Chinese food.

Q: What about your inclusion of “Korean health foods,” like Mrs. Kim’s Eggless Egg Salad? Were you writing for the trending healthy-food movement, one that is punctuated with diets ranging from vegan, to gluten-free, paleo, and keto?

A: I’m writing about a show that happened in a different food climate than the one we’re in right now. My first focus was to include recipes that fans were looking for in the first book. It doesn’t ring true to me that a Gilmore Girls book would also be catered to all kinds of various diets.

Of course, you would be hard-pressed to find something that you couldn’t make to fit your dietary standards, she admitted. For example, the eggless salad is tailor-made for Michel Gerard, Lorelei’s trusty French concierge at the Inn who works off 2-percent milk, swears off carbs, and opts for egg whites. Upon searching the hashtag, #eatlikeagilmore, a fan recreated the chili in the first book with modifications to fit into her diet, like swapping – for lean turkey.

Q: With the first book’s wild success, why did you feel it necessary to start another Kickstarter Campaign for Daily Cravings?

A: I’m an indie author and Skyhorse is an indie publisher. I just wanted to test the market before going the whole process of creating a book – to make sure people were still interested in Gilmore Girls since it has been a couple of years since the revival and a whole bunch of new shows are on, The kick starter campaign helped us in that way.

I also wanted a big part of the second book to be just as community-based as the first was. There are several people who have contributed and tested recipes. I also had folks who did art work in the chapter pages around the border. It’s incredible to work with people like that, who love the show, know the show, and are as in to the show as I am. It’s like we all come together and it’s this whole synergy. The kick-starter helps us to build that team again. I think Daily Cravings would have lost a lot of its magic if I would have just done it all myself. 

Q: Do you have a favorite recipe in both books?

A: That I could create Beefaroni, made me really happy. My 12-year-old appetite is in there somewhere! From the new book- I don’t know if you remember this from the show [I did] but there is a scene where Rory and Lorelei are getting ready for movie night and Luke comes over and says to Lorelei, I don’t even want to know what kind of food you’re preparing in there. She replies that she’s making a breaded French country chicken. Well I put the breaded French country chicken in the book and it is just really good! I have that for dinner often. It’s my number-one go-to right now, but I’m also really happy that there is so much Chinese food in this. It’s hard to find good Chinese food in Los Angeles

Lorelei and Rory didn’t actually cook themselves. Instead, gives particular attention to. Carlson received an email from a reader saying she was a novice in the kitchen, wanted to cook something from the book, but didn’t know where to start. Carlson came up with the idea of a YouTube series to pair with the book. “There are so many young women who have the cookbook with limited experience in the kitchen. So in addition to having a recipe, they can also watch what I’m doing.” For Carlson, the show’s opening credits, “where you lead I will follow; if you need me to be with you, I will follow,” is an anthem.

Carlson shared her favorite recipe below!

Breaded French Country Chicken

4             Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

1             Egg, beaten

1 c          Bread crumbs

1 T         Herbs de Provence

2 t          Salt

2 t          Black pepper

3 T         Butter

4 slices  Muenster cheese

Parsley or Thyme, garnish

Prepare chicken: Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place beaten egg in a medium, shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. Dip one breast in egg, covering both sides. Hold breast over bowl and allow excess egg to drip off. Dredge breast through bread crumbs until covered on both sides. Place breast on a plate or clean cutting board. Repeat for remaining 3 breasts.

Cook chicken: In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Distribute melted butter so bottom of pan is covered. Place breaded breasts in pan. Cook breasts for 5 minutes. Turn breasts. Cook for 3 minutes. Place a piece of cheese on top of each breast. Remove from heat. Allow chicken to rest in pan for 10 minutes. Place chicken on plates, garnish with parsley or fresh thyme.

Makes 4 servings.

Freepoint Hotel - The Intellect's Love Boat

Until now, press has only covered the opening of the Freepoint Hotel, located a few minutes away from Harvard and MIT. A web search makes you privy to the quirky aesthetic that characterizes Freepoint’s design elements. There are nifty photo slideshows highlighting the hotel’s lobbies, rooms, and bathrooms, but there has not been any coverage on the actual experience of staying there. Here is your insider look, well overdue, and just in time for the start of the academic year:

Anchored at the end of a roundabout in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Freepoint Hotel is adjacent to a gate separating it from a strip mall parking lot. Across the street is another strip mall. I’m hopeful that my 121-rooom boutique hotel choice and former Best Western, converted in May 2017 into a space offering a California-inspired kitchen menu, is a millenial-pink diamond in the rough. After telling the concierge my itinerary, he admits to not knowing anything about Boston, a Maine native himself. He suggests that I take the amphibious “duck” tour of Boston so I can get a dose of the city’s famous geographical hallmark – the Harbor that promises the best seafood New England has to offer. At least, that’s what other hotel squatters have told him.

Instead of participating in a live rendition of surf-and-turf, riding along land before splashing into the sea, I opted for exploring the revolutionary state by foot.

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I walked along winding paths where women were once burned at the stake for witchcraft in Salem. I got an unmatched view of the water from the Freedom Trail cemetery before climbing up a hill to the North End Church, reminiscent of Montramarte, France. And I indulged in the city’s unmatched literary heritage at Concord and Cambridge. Landlocked in transit, I was already riding on the waves aboard Freepoint.

After an over 4-hour drive from Long Island, I made a beeline for my room, quickly taking in the lobby during a seamless check-in. Matching the photos online, I wasn’t surprised by the chic white subway tile-covered bathroom with contrasting black matte finishes. The black-and-white motif played well with the Living Proof hair care and Beekman goat milk’s bath products. I turned on the sink faucet that let out a high-pressured spray of water. I splashed my face a few times and before I knew it, a body of water surrounded me. Puddles circled my feet, streams of water fell on the mirror and all over the sink, and the unsightly droplets splattered on to the toilet seat.  

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I then checked out my room: two queen-sized beds covered with the Instagram-advertised CTRL +Z pillows – a spoof on the computer’s sleep mode. The makeshift closet consisted of a canopy-covered clothing rod. A lampshade with an exposed tweed-covered wire hung from the ceiling in the far corner of the room. Shades were up and revealed a blessing in disguise: A Whole Foods Market – where I frequented each day of my stay for a daily evening snack of protein bars, seasonal fruit, and hard-boiled eggs. The T.V., which I eventually turned on the next evening and thereafter had clear reception – a given in this era but rarity in my economical rooms from years’ past – and was part of DISH which offered every channel and network that I watch.

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The in-house Starbucks – open to the public – was a Godsend. They opened at the crack of dawn – literally, and closed until well after this New Yorker could go without coffee. Not to mention that this location had surpassed my own local café where new menu items still were not available and the Clover machine – a single-serve-cup coffee-brewing contraption, produced the most aromatic, robust cup of coffee I had ever tasted. Caffeine fix or not, the stay at Freepoint wasn’t always a high. In fact, the art-deco décor, exposed patio, leather lounge seats, locally-produced artwork, room divider made from wooden boat paddles, and Polaroid photo-wall, did nothing to cancel out the lack of in-room amenities, included perks, turn-down service, and absence of staff knowledgeable about Boston, or the fact that the modest kitchen did not have so much as a microwave.

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I spoke to front office manager, Kelly Krohn, regarding some of the less-than-savory experiences I had after first praising my breakfast of poached eggs and wheat sourdough toast. Why had my room not been cleaned or bed fixed? Krohn attributed it to human error: the staff had probably just missed my room. Digging a little further, I mentioned the staff’s lack of knowledge about the city and state in general. Why hire people who have no affinity for the place in which they’re employed? It’s difficult to hire anyone. Not just here in Boston, Krohn asserts. She mentioned that in California too, not many people are interested in joining hospitality. So there are too many jobs and not enough people looking for employment? That quandary seems a bit fishy.

So I followed up and spoke with supervisor, Scott McNaughton. He said “people in the industry are looking for higher-up positions,” and there is a limited supply. He felt uncomfortable continuing the conversation beyond this and put me on hold, disconnected and didn’t respond to my future calls. I called again about 30 minutes later to have him again put me on hold and then not respond. To be more clear, and what is more disconcerting, is that I called the main Freepoint Hotel telephone number.

I did ask Kelly about the idea of unspoken free labor, or interns who are students studying hotel management and are interested in the hospitality field. She replied that I had met two of their summer interns, both of who I met while they were working at the bar, taking my order and serving my breakfast. I had lengthy conversations with both Adelaide, Concord-native and a recent Cornell graduate who has plans to study environmental science in graduate school and Ashley, an undergrad in New Hampshire who is planning on continuing in hospitality. Both interns had invested interests in performing their job well and contributed to my overall enjoyable stay at Freepoint.

The director of sales, Charlene Thomas Navarro and other managers were rarely available, in person and remotely. Upon searching LinkedIn, I found 8 employees at Freepoint. The only person I recognized aside from Kelly was the bartender I had met one night: Frank Daffin. It was rather late and I needed an evening tide over, so I asked for mixed berries that I knew the kitchen had on hand for dressing the buttermilk waffles on the breakfast menu. He wanted to charge me $15 for a mix of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Not one to skimp on food, I was miffed by the made-up price and settled on half the amount at $7.50.

All in all, Freepoint Hotel was a quintessentially millenial experience. The aesthetic was the equivalent of an Instagram-filter. First-world problems like pricey berries aside, the stay was unique and kept you on your toes. Will your sheets be changed? Will the shuttle pick me up? Will Starbucks have my coffee roast of choice? On a final note, I had asked Kelly about the hotel’s future plans. She paused and with a steadfast confidence replied that they wanted to make sure every room had a coffeemaker. Keep in mind that there was a Starbucks downstairs, but as a New Yorker who needs her morning cup of Joe, I applaud them for prioritizing coffee.