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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

It’s finally fall and that means it’s time for the annual “Gilmore Girls” rewatch. The 2000’s drama follows the lives of Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory. Lorelai was only 16 when she had Rory, a key component to their mother-daughter bond. The show begins when Rory is 16, just before she starts at a new school. Lorelai has a complicated relationship with her parents, but since they will be paying for Rory’s school, Lorelai’s parents — Emily and Richard Gilmore — require a weekly Friday night dinner so they are actively involved in Rory’s life now that they are financially involved. Now that we have the basic premise of the show laid out, it’s time to discuss one of the central elements: Food. 

Right off the bat, Rory and Lorelai’s love of food is obvious. The fact that Lorelai and Rory eat a lot yet remain thin is a central plot line throughout the series. It is often noted that they can eat more than their male counterparts. In “Red Light on the Wedding Night” Rory and Lorelai are on a double date with their respective partners. After dinner, the group is walking when they pass an ice cream shop. Lorelai and Rory hurry off to get ice cream, leaving their partners stunned since they themselves were stuffed. On Rory and Dean’s first date in “Kiss and Tell.” Dean comments on Rory’s pizza consumption. When Lorelai asks who needs more pizza, Rory reaches for another piece prompting Dean to note that “she can eat.” This comment makes Rory self-conscious but Dean doubles back assuring her it’s a good thing because “most girls don’t eat.” This furthers the notion that Lorelai and Rory “aren’t like other girls.” 

In the episode titled “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” they attempt to eat four Thanksgiving dinners in one day. When Rory brings up the very valid question of how they will accomplish this, Lorelai responds that this is what they’ve been training for, acknowledging their exceptional ability to eat. 

Food is also used as a setting throughout the show. Rory and Lorelai go to Luke’s Diner almost every day. Luke has a huge presence in Lorelai and Rory’s life even before he starts dating Lorelai. Not only does Luke provide the coffee to fuel Lorelai’s caffeine addiction, he is also a father-figure for Rory. He often attempts to slip extra vegetables onto Lorelai’s plate in an effort to make her “eat healthier,” however she always catches on, rendering his attempts futile. Unlike Lorelai and Rory, Luke eats a nutrient rich diet. 

Food also serves as a setting at the Friday Night Dinners.  The food at these meals is “classier” than the Chinese takeout and pizza Rory and Lorelai eat at home. Most of these dinners end in a fight between Lorelai and her mother Emily, further illustrating the tension between them. While food is rarely the instigator of these arguments, it serves as a reminder of the life Lorelai left. After having Rory, Lorelai left her parents house, a house filled with fancy food and crystal bowls. At her house with Rory, Lorelai eats Pop Tarts and leftover pizza off paper plates with plastic cutlery. 

On many occasions, food is used as a way to bond with Emily and Richard. In season one episode eight “Love & War & Snow,” Rory introduces her grandparents to frozen pizza. Although they were hesitant at first, Richard and Emily trusted Rory and enjoyed the frozen pizza. Rory brought her grandparents into her world by introducing them to a classic dish in her house. 

Rory also bonds with her academic rival turned best friend, Paris, over food. In season 2 episode 16 “There’s the Rub,” Rory and Luke’s nephew Jess introduce Paris to a “salt and pepper dip.” At her house, Paris cannot eat fast food, especially not mac and cheese, so she is thrilled to be able to eat it with Rory. This evening momentarily pauses the rivalry between the two. 

Like real people, the characters on the show each have their own complex and nuanced relationship with food. Rory and Lorelai exclusively eat takeout and fast-food while Luke eats a more balanced diet. Lorelai’s best friend Sookie is a chef who has a very positive relationship with food. She describes the color and fragrance of her dishes, caring about the quality of the ingredients to make the best meal possible. 

On your rewatch of the show this fall, keep an eye out for all of the different ways they use food to propel the plot forward! Now make Lorelai proud and get some coffee!

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Rachel Hackam

Emerson '25

Journalism student and dancer at Emerson College I love writing about the arts, mental health, and all things entertainment!