The life of one Lorelai Gilmore is the epitome of greener grass on the fabled other side. She drinks coffee all day, she eats everything fried, gooey, and delicious with endless gusto, and balks at fresh fruit and vegetables the way a cat might at a bath. Throughout all that, she manages to zip around on foot and in her manual Jeep, talking with the fervor of an eloquent parrot who also happens to be an expert on David Bowie and the Bangles. Every time I watch Gilmore Girls, I think, This is the way to live. Endless coffee, all the best savory foods that no woman near or in her 30s is "supposed" to eat regularly, and endless energy. Celebrity diets and fancy bottled water can take a hike, because I wanted the Gilmore diet... And then I actually did the Lorelai diet for a mere 24 hours. And it almost broke me.
Part of me knew this would happen. Why else would I only commit to 24 hours? This is my dream diet, after all. The other part of me — the part that loves to tell me that ordering nachos or chicken fingers and fries on Seamless for dinner is fine as long as I have a bottle of seltzer instead of a glass of wine with it — was hoping that I would somehow unlock the ability to exist in a world where greasy food doesn't give me heartburn and too many cups of coffee don't make me feel like a gaggle of toddlers are using my lungs like a bouncy castle. Clearly, combining all the things that make my body feel terrible would nullify all their effects and render me radiant, charming, and endlessly witty. Clearly, I was completely delusional.
But before I get too far ahead of myself, here was the setup.
24 Hours Of Gilmore Food
1. Egg Rolls
2. Chicken Mei Fun Noodles
3. Orange Chicken
4. Kung Pao Chicken
5. Scallion Pancakes
6. Four Boxes Of Rice
7. Pork Lo Mein
8. 2 Diet Cokes
9. 5 Fortune Cookies
10. Pint of Chubby Hubby Ice Cream
11. Donut From a Local Coffee Shop (Not Luke's, But It Will Do)
12. 1 Package of Strawberry Pop Tarts
13. 1 Single Serving Package Of Sour Cream & Onion Pringles
14. 2 Donut Holes
15. Two Bites Of A Free Cookie At Work
16. 8 Cups of Coffee
17. Cheeseburger & Fries From A Local Diner (Again, Not Quite Luke's)
18. One Glass Of Water To Keep Me From Perishing
Meal 1: A Grey Gardens-Worthy Chinese Food Dinner Order & Dessert
Because one does not simply order a Gilmore-level Chinese food order alone and without the proper entertainment, I invited one of my best friends over to play Rory to my Lorelai while we watched a double feature: Grey Gardens (a Lorelai and Rory favorite) and Kill Bill (as a nod to the time Rory dressed as Gogo). And while we did not finish the entire order (this would be impossible, and besides, we need to uphold the Gilmore tradition of filling the refrigerator with cold Chinese food for subsequent dinners and snacking all week long), we did try.
While Little Edie and Big Edie screamed at each other in their East Hampton anomaly of a home, my friend and I sat in front of a spread that I can only characterize as the delivery order from hell: egg rolls, chicken mei fun, orange chicken, kung pao chicken, scallion pancakes, four orders of rice, pork lo mein, two diet Cokes, and five fortune cookies. The order came with six sets of plastic utensils and an endless supply of grease, but we endeavored to eat as much as we could, and try each dish at least twice. And being the temporary Gilmores that we were, we had to follow it up with ice cream for dessert.
How'd We Do?
Well, not great. We barely made a dent in the food. I ended up giving much of it away to my roommates, but if I'd chosen to keep eating our cull, I would have had dinners and lunches for days, even after we gave it our all. The ice cream — which we each only got maybe three spoonfuls into — did. not. help. We spent most of Kill Bill lying down and clutching pillows, letting out various groans and complaints about how uncomfortable we were — which, on a scale from one to ten, was a Spinal Tap-inspired 11. I don't remember that unbearable part of any Gilmore movie night, but maybe it just didn't make for good TV?
Meal 2: A Surprisingly Normal Breakfast
Breakfast seemed easy enough: Swing by my local coffee shop where the people of my quiet, tiny Brooklyn neighborhood, attempt to gab with the coffee purveyor, and grab the closest thing I could find to a danish or a donut. However, I happen to live in a part of Brooklyn that is slightly hip, rather than the friendly Stars Hollow, so the gabbing was not appreciated (though I think the coffee guy was more confused than annoyed), and the closest thing to a danish was an artisanal handmade apple cinnamon donut hole which was the size of an actual donut. It was basically a donut ball. I figured Lorelai would approve of the absurdity of the size of this donut ball, and decided to go for it with a giant cup of regular ol' joe.
How'd I Do?
Great. This was by far the easiest part of the experiment. I normally eat something with protein in it for breakfast so I'm not starving at 11 a.m., but I didn't mind having a bit of a treat in the morning. It helps that this was one of the best cinnamon donuts I've ever had the pleasure of pairing with a great cup of coffee. I also kind of enjoyed trying to force the barista to make small talk with me — clearly, a Lorelai trait.
Meal 3(ish): Gilmore-Approved Snacks, Whatever I Could Find In The Kitchen At Work, And Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
For lunch, I tried to rack my brain for an instance in which Lorelai consumed midday food in any way that could truly be defined as lunch unless Emily was involved. The instances were few and far between, but our Girl Gilmore did snack endlessly on the food and coffee at work (granted, her work kitchen was Sookie's kitchen, so lucky her), and as we found out on her grocery store date with Digger, she keeps sour cream and onion Pringles in her bag.
Using these loose rules, I snacked on whatever I could find at work (donut holes and some really disgusting cookies that I did not finish, because while Lorelai can eat anything, she won't eat something she doesn't enjoy) and my purse snacks of Pringles and Pop Tarts. And because she is never without it, I paired as much coffee as I could possibly drink with all of these bites.
I eventually broke down and drank some water to keep from losing my mind, even though I don't remember the episode in which Lorelai chugged water because she was having a caffeine-induced panic attack. How curious.
How'd I Do?
Terrible. Awful. The worst afternoon of my life. OK, that is a bit dramatic, but you heard it here first, and from someone who eats way too much junk food and drinks way too much coffee already: The limit sure does exist.
Also, vegetables are a gift from the gods. I have never wanted a green, leafy salad and a tall glass of ice water more than I did at about 4 p.m. the day of this experiment. I'm never one to prefer vegetables over a nice plate of french fries or a juicy cheeseburger, but if Lorelai Gilmore has taught me anything, it's that you can screw up your body with food, and that you can make it happen in less than 24 hours.
Final Meal: One Diner Burger And Fries, Picked Up In Person... With Attempted Gusto
In another attempt to replicate the Luke's Diner experience, I went to another local haunt (look, I had to approximate because I don't actually live in small-town Connecticut, OK?) in person — a dreaded setup for any New Yorker with access to a Seamless account.
I attempted, once more and to no avail, to chat with the folks running the "diner" (which is really a hip restaurant that serves up seafood sandwiches alongside burgers and fries with a faux-casual flair, but again, I had to do what I could, folks). In the end, I got very little quippy banter with the folks at the restaurant and I walked away with my burger to-go and trudged home to my apartment, where I begrudgingly ate my final Gilmore meal while watching Gilmore Girls reruns on Netflix (I suppose I needed the motivation).
How'd I Do?
With this final meal, I really learned to appreciate the burger ingredients that I've on many occasions referred to as a "speed bump." Bless you, lettuce and tomato. Bless your delicious little vegetable souls, and thank you for making the consumption of a burger and fries (after eight cups of coffee and mounds upon mounds of sugar) even halfway possible.
Of course, even after all of this, I still finished those fries. Ya-ya.
The Verdict: To Eat Like Lorelai Or... To Swear Off French Fries And Chinese Food Forever?
There I go being dramatic again. I did not, for the record, quit eating delicious junk food. In fact, I ordered a burger and fries not four days after this experiment — but only after a brief and torrid affair with every green vegetable I could get my hands on. Still, if I learned anything, it's that Lorelai's love of junk food is hyperbole. It's an expression of how we all feel about deliciously crispy, greasy delights, and not anything resembling a road map for a livable existence.
If you were to eat like a Gilmore in real life, you probably wouldn't make it much further than I did before breaking down, likely in public and in dramatic fashion a la Kirk in most town-related situations (which our girl from Stars Hollow would probably appreciate for its grandeur).
Lorelai Gilmore, you are a superhero. May I never attempt your inhuman feats again.
Images: Hannah Burton/Bustle
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