If I had to pick the finest best friend on TV, it would be Gilmore Girls chef Sookie St. James. There, I said it. Sorry, Rhoda. Sorry, Samantha/Charlotte/Miranda. Sookie is it. Not only is she hilarious, supportive, kind, and nurturing, she can also cook up a storm. I think Gilmore Girls' Sookie and her delicious recipes are a big part of the reason that the Independence Inn and Dragonfly Inn were so successful: Wouldn't you stick around if the food was that good?
In case you need reminding, (but, of course you don't because everyone should know the amazingness that is Melissa McCarthy's first big role), Sookie St. James is Lorelai’s best friend and business partner. She serves up some amazing dishes as chef of both inns, and she’s always dreaming up new dishes. Sookie is so dedicated to her recipes, in fact, that she up and married her vegetable provider, Jackson. (OK, they were also in love.) When she got a gift of vegetables from another purveyor, she cooked with them and then immediately felt guilty. That’s dedication to your craft and your suppliers.
Because I sometimes find myself dreaming up ideas about what I would request Sookie to make for me if I were staying at the Dragonfly Inn, I did a little sleuthing in her recipe book. Here are the five best dishes that Sookie made during her tenure on Gilmore Girls (and things that you should probably consider bringing into your own kitchen):
1. Jalapeno-Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese
Um, hello, doesn’t that sound amazing? A little smoke from the chipotle, with a dash of zing from the jalapenos? Unfortunately, this dish was made during Lorelai and Sookie’s foray into catering kids’ parties, and Lorelai had the displeasure of informing Sookie that no kid was going to eat this fancy mac-and-cheese. Was she right? Yes. Were those kids missing out? Absolutely. More for me.
Want to make it? Here's a recipe that'll get you pretty close to the original.
2. Muffin Tops Of All Types
Muffin tops are an amazing phenomena. Who could resist a freshly baked basket of the best part of any muffin? Not Lorelai, that’s for sure: Sookie baked Lorelai a variety of freshly baked muffin tops in order to bribe her to watch Davey and Martha so Sookie and Jackson could go skiing for the day. It would have worked on me, too.
Inspired to make your own? Try these crumb cake muffin tops.
3. Her Wedding Cake
Most of the chefs I know are perfectionists, and, even though Sookie is a fictional being (as much as I try to convince myself otherwise), Sookie is very much the same. Sookie insisted on making her own wedding cake, hand-molding and decorating sugar flowers to impress her guests. Typical.
I don't know why you'd make your own wedding cake (#stressful), but here's how to do it.
4. Pastrami Sandwiches
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? In the case of Gilmore Girls, Sookie made pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. When a train carrying tons of pickles crashed just right outside Stars Hollow, Sookie realized that she couldn’t fight the pickle. You just have to go along with the pickle, and the only thing that goes with that much pickle is a nice deli sandwich. She also got Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda (which tastes like celery, if you’ve never had it. It’s not bad.) to go along with the meal. Sandwiches for everyone!
Got an excess of pickles? You can make your own pastrami just like Sookie.
5. A Deep-Fried Turkey
Sookie is a true gourmet, so you can imagine her distaste when hubby Jackson and his family wanted to deep-fry their whole Thanksgiving dinner. They did manage to get the turkey all fried, along with the lawn... and the whole backyard. Sure, she didn't really cook it, but all of this drives Sookie to drink, and that's really the best part of the whole episode. Drunk Sookie should have made more appearances.
If anyone knows how to deep-fry a turkey, it's Paula Deen. I'm sure even Sookie would approve of her recipe.
6. Roquefort Puffs
Roquefort puffs mark a sort of culinary dalliance between no-frills Luke and over-the-top Sookie. In "Cinnamon's Wake," Babette's cat Cinnamon dies after a meal from Al's Pancake World. Of course, Stars Hollow has to have a wake for the animal, and, Luke lets Sookie garnish a platter of meatloaf with these cheesy, delicious puffs. Mmmm. Puffs.
Definitely making the Roquefort puffs for my next party.
7. Mud Pie
Both Sookie and Jackson are crazy nervous during their first date, which is strange, right? They have this great banter in the kitchen, and when it goes to the dinner table, it kind of... falls off. So, in the episode "Double Date," they make some food-related small talk, the first of which is that Rory's literal mud pies used to look exactly like Sookie's mud pies — the kind filled with good chocolate ganache and cookies. This haunts Sookie, because as a trained chef she should be able to make a mud pie that doesn't look like an actual mud pie, you know?
I prefer the cookie mud pie to the dirt mud pie, so here's a recipe to make your own. Bring me some after?
8. Toblerone Bars
OK, maybe she didn’t make the Toblerone chocolate bars, but they do have to do with one of my favorite plot points. When the Dragonfly opened, Sookie would sneak up to one of the guest rooms to watch Dark Shadows and relax away from her screaming kids. Eventually, it became a habit — one that Michel was convinced was some sort of apparition. Not quite, Michel. (And if you want to get really Sookie with it, the homemade Toblerone recipe is a thing that exists.)
Is anyone else suddenly very hungry? Figures. Sookie always did know how to whet my appetite.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (8)