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.
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.