There is nothing I enjoy more than eating leftover Chinese food while watching an episode (or five) of Gilmore Girls in the evening. Lorelai and Rory’s junk food eating habits are stuff of legend, making me crave a hamburger and fries every time they have a scene at Luke’s diner. But their breakfast habits are just as important as their dinner ones (if not more so), and what they eat in the morning tends to say a lot about their current state of mind.
I have therefore taken on the very important task of compiling a list of every single breakfast consumed over the course of the series, and learned a lot about the girls and breakfast in the process. For example, the breakfast item that appears the most in the show is scrambled eggs (shown a total of 15 times), followed by pancakes (12), doughnuts (9), and muffins (7). Lorelai eats more pancakes, doughnuts, and muffins than Rory, whereas Rory eats more cereal, Pop-Tarts, French toast, and fruit. Blueberry is their favorite kind of muffin, and when Rory is going through relationship troubles, she likes to have pancakes with strawberries.
So whether you’re planning your next Gilmore Girls marathon or simply wish to copy the girls’ eating preferences, now you’ll have the right breakfast pairing for whatever you’re in the mood for: hearty scrambled eggs and bacon for when you’re starving, an assortment of pastries and grapefruit if you’re feeling posh, or a simple plate of Pop-Tarts with coffee to give you a jolt of energy for the day.
Disclaimer: This comprehensive list does not include the times the girls have coffee for breakfast, because drinking coffee for the Gilmores is as constant as breathing.
Whenever Emily does breakfast, she has to do it right. This means trays full of chocolate muffins, danishes, and croissants, plates of omelets, and bowls of fruit. Oddly enough, Rory never touches the pastries when she breakfasts with Emily. Lorelai’s idea of a pastry spread, on the other hand, consists of doughnuts, bagels, Pop-Tarts, muffins, and shredded wheat, all of them “room temperature and nutrient-free,” which she serves to the construction crew working on her house. Assorted pastries are also seen when Luke, Lorelai, Logan, and Rory spend Valentine’s Day weekend at Martha’s Vineyard. Luke refuses to eat the “best pastries on the island” even though he was starving. Let us now all forget that this episode existed. (Seen in episodes 6.01, 6.03, 6.15)
Bagels are only eaten once during the entire show, when Lorelai orders bagels with cream cheese and jam. Lane has the bagels scooped out, saving the scoopings for Paul Anka. It’s an out-of-character breakfast for Lorelai, which I attribute to the Great Rift of Season Six. (6.06)
Cajun Eggs Benedict
After the Independence Inn burns down, Sookie takes over Luke’s kitchen for a few days, much to Luke’s chagrin. However, the two begin to grudgingly respect each other by the end of the ordeal, even collaborating on making this new breakfast item when Luke accidentally knocked cayenne into Sookie’s Hollandaise sauce. (3.17)
In college, Paris invents the perfect combination of cereal for maximum enjoyment: five different kinds of cereal, three of them sweet, with a mix of nonfat milk and half and half. One of her creations consists of “Cap’n Crunch over a foundation of Rice Krispies, with a perimeter of Crispy Wheat.” She also recommends Raisin Bran, which “keeps things moving.” Fruit’n Oats cereal is most often seen at the girls’ home or at Lane’s apartment, although one time Rory is seen pouring Rice Krispies and mini marshmallows into a giant bowl with milk. (3.02, 4.17, 5.14, 5.18, 6.08)
Chicken Noodle Soup
Lorelai orders soup with a side of mashed potatoes at Luke’s three days in a row when she has a cold, picking out all the carrots each time. (3.02)
Luke makes a special coffee cake for Rory’s birthday, complete with balloons and a single pink candle. Weirdly, Rory does not have a cup of coffee to go with the coffee cake. (1.06)
Lorelai and Christopher are about to embark on a romantic trip to France, so Chris brings coffee and croissants from Weston’s Bakery to prepare for the vacation. (Vacation prep also includes horribly obnoxious French accents.) Right away you can tell their relationship is doomed, because Lorelai is never shown eating a croissant besides this occasion. You’ve got to win her heart with doughnuts, Chris. (7.06)
Lorelai’s danish of choice is the cherry danish, to be eaten on Danish Day, the most sacred of days—a day of happiness and forgiveness. Just make sure it’s eaten with a nice cup of coffee, because what is a danish without coffee? (2.05, 4.19)
“Sprinkled or chocolate or jelly or glazed. Maple or kicky or apple or glazed.” Doughnuts from Luke’s are what the girls default to when they need a quick breakfast to go, usually favoring the chocolate and sprinkled flavors. Lorelai and Rory don’t eat doughnuts at their home as often, usually only having them for breakfast during times of hardship, like Rory’s period of college application anxiety, and when Lorelai’s boyfriend Alex (who I wasn’t sure really existed until I went back and re-watched season three) brings a bag of doughnuts from Weston’s Bakery for an excruciatingly early fishing date. At one point, Rory brings a box of doughnuts shaped like clowns to Chilton for a study session, which is an excellent way to placate bristly classmates. The clown doughnuts come with hats, because “clowns without hats just aren’t clowns.” Luke would never be caught making such frippery, so they were probably from Weston’s. (1.18, 2.05, 2.22, 3.03 3.08, 3.12, 5.02, 5.13, 7.21)
Rory is the only one who orders French toast when eating breakfast at Luke’s, usually when Luke is pressuring the girls to order quickly for one reason or another. She sometimes pairs it with a side of crispy bacon. The only time Lorelai eats French toast is when Jason (“Digger”) makes Lorelai French toast and bacon for breakfast at his house. In a hurry, Lorelai puts the French toast and bacon in a bag and douses them with maple syrup, dubbing it “French Toast On the Go.” But how you actually eat it remains a mystery. (1.19, 2.06, 2.17, 4.17)
Lorelai and Rory almost always order their eggs scrambled or in omelet form, so fried eggs are a bit of an anomaly. I’m guessing Rory wasn’t feeling like herself when she ordered them, stuck in a relationship with Dean while pining for Jess. She orders the eggs with a side of bacon and pancakes. Dean comes in shortly afterwards and tells Rory, “Please don’t hate me, but I already ate breakfast.” It’s too late, Dean. (3.02)
Richard is a firm believer in eating half a grapefruit every morning. “The benefits they bring us far outweigh any temporary discomforts we may endure,” he tells Lorelai. When Richard is seen eating grapefruit with Emily, each half oddly comes with a raspberry in the middle, which gets picked off. Rich people. So eccentric. Emily also hates over-sugared grapefruit, apparently. Fruit for breakfast is not so common for Lorelai and Rory. In season two, Lorelai is seen eating just a bowl of fruit (melons, strawberries, and grapes) for breakfast. Rory eats an apple before going to Chilton in season one, then in season seven she’s shown eating slices of cantaloupe at her apartment with Paris. This is just before she receives a rejection letter from the Reston Fellowship. Serves her right for eating cantaloupe, the worst of all melons. (1.05, 2.08, 6.06, 7.19)
When at Luke’s, the girls always order the blueberry muffins, warmed if possible, and eat them either at the diner or on the go. Luke’s muffins have a bit of a crumbly topping, and actually remind me of those you’d find at hotel continental breakfasts. Nothing fancy, but the muffins are sweet, cakey, and completely satisfying. The only time Lorelai ever eats muffins outside of Luke’s is when Sookie brings a whole basket of muffin tops to Lorelai’s house to ask for a favor. The flavors include apple cinnamon walnut, lemon poppyseed, apple spice, and double chocolate chip. According to Sookie, “It’s really more like cake than muffin, but calling it a muffin means you can eat it for breakfast.” This should be the only way friends ask for favors. (And what did Sookie do with the muffin bottoms? MUFFIN BOTTOM PIE.) (1.07, 2.01, 2.07, 3.15, 4.12, 5.08, 7.12)
Preparing for the Dragonfly Inn’s grand opening, Lorelai is so stressed that she drinks all the coffee in her house before five in the morning, and then proceeds to wait on Luke’s doorsteps in an anxiety-induced haze. Lorelai agrees to eat oatmeal at Luke’s insistence, only if Luke promises to take a tour of the inn. (4.20)
Omelets are more of a Lorelai thing than a Rory thing. She likes them either with jack cheese or cheddar cheese, and sometimes with a side of bacon and sausage. At one point, Lorelai almost orders Luke’s special omelet, which consists of three eggs, bits of bacon, cubed tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and a dash of oregano, but she manages to whittle it down to a simple jack cheese omelet with a side of bacon. Michel’s idea of a good omelet is made of egg whites and cooked with tomatoes, mushrooms, and chives. But Sookie can’t resist giving Michel a hard time and instead makes him a three-egg omelet with goat cheese and pancetta, cooked in a sherry olive oil. He refuses to touch it. (1.14, 2.17, 3.15, 4.09)
According to Lorelai, no one, not even Cesar, can make good, fluffy pancakes like Luke can. The kind of pancakes the girls order varies widely over the course of the show. After Dean dumps Rory in season one, Lorelai asks Luke to make her a batch of chocolate-chip pancakes with strawberries (heavy on the chocolate), and in season three she orders pancakes with strawberries to cheer Rory up from her relationship troubles with Jess. When Luke hires some temporary help (Froggy), he’s in such a good mood he offers the girls pumpkin pancakes with homemade cinnamon butter. Lorelai orders banana pancakes with a side of bacon when Richard comes to visit Stars Hollow for the first time. One time, Lorelai orders pancakes with two eggs over easy and bullies Luke into remaking her plate because the eggs were put on top of the pancakes, and were therefore ogling her. On Rory’s first day of Yale, Rory invents the “Yale Special”: sausage wrapped in pancake, tied together with bacon. The girls choose standard blueberry pancakes on any given normal day. And if you’re Michel, you’ll want low-fat, whole wheat pancakes with exactly 12 blueberries. (1.17, 1.19, 2.03, 2.06, 2.12, 2.15, 3.07, 3.17, 4.02, 4.09) (3.20)
This is what Max Medina orders the first time he eats breakfast at Luke’s. Later in the same episode, Lorelai calls off the wedding. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. (2.03)
Pop-Tarts are a staple of the Gilmore household, as they are easy-to-make, calorie-dense, and just plain delicious. Lorelai has a brief existential crisis in season seven about Pop-Tarts, wondering if she actually likes the toaster pastries or whether it’s merely an act of rebellion, but I assume this feeling passes quickly. According to Lorelai, the first time she had a Pop-Tart it tasted like “freedom and rebellion and independence.” (Rory: “Wow, that’s some Pop-Tart, what flavor was that?”). The girls are usually seen eating the strawberry flavor, although when Lorelai is having her crisis of faith, she’s picking at a blueberry one. The Pop-Tarts are always paired with a mug or thermos of coffee, enabling the girls to maintain their mile-a-minute lifestyle. (1.12, 2.12, 4.13, 5.22, 7.03)
“I need something with cheese!” Lorelai proclaims one day as she enters the diner. Luke apparently had made a breakfast quesadilla the day before, and Lorelai demands another one, insisting that he is the only one who knows the correct jack-to-cheddar cheese ratio. (4.16)
Lorelai and Rory try their best to avoid the other guests at the Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast, but unfortunately they run into a whole group of them gathering to watch hummingbirds. According to LaDawn, “The delights of nature aren’t on any kind of time schedule.” Fortunately for the girls, they have a fresh batch of scones ready to be taste-tested, studded with what look like raisins, currants, and cranberries. (2.04)
Cheesy scrambled eggs are a diner staple, and the girls order it often at Luke’s, usually with some combination of bacon, sausage, pancakes, or toast as a side. (During the series finale, however, the last scrambled eggs Lorelai orders includes a side of hash browns, which she’s never ordered before.) Luke always garnishes the plate with orange slices and a handful of berries. Whenever the Gilmores are seen eating scrambled eggs for breakfast at home, you can bet that Luke is the one cooking them. Lorelai even has a dream that Luke is cooking her eggs for breakfast at home. Rory, however, is seen cooking scrambled eggs herself once during season seven as hangover food, showing a true sign of her maturity. If Luke’s isn’t a dining option, Sookie is more than happy to make the girls their usual eggs, bacon, toast, and fruit. Once, Sookie used Kosher bacon made of beef for some reason, and Lorelai loved it, surprisingly. Lorelai also ate scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon at Jason’s house after a night of not sleeping together. (1.20, 2.05, 2.08, 2.21, 2.22, 3.01, 4.10, 5.03, 5.04, 6.03, 6.10, 6.16, 7.20, 7.22)
After Rory, Paris, and Lane have an unfortunate run-in with Miss Patty’s Founder’s Day punch, Lorelai cheerfully brings in tacos (hard and soft shell) and fries (curly, straight, and spicy) from Tito’s the next morning to soak up the alcohol. For Rory, Lorelai reserves a beef burrito, deemed too hardcore for the others to handle. (5.19)
When Luke hires Brennan for some temporary help, Rory won’t take any chances with Froggy and just orders rye toast. “Want that toasted?” he asks. “Sure, why not.” (4.09)
The girls are clearly pancake people, but frozen waffles will do in a pinch. Rory likes to drizzle hers with copious amounts of maple syrup and chocolate sauce. And while attending Yale, Rory nearly misses Waffle Bar Day at the dining hall, and is forced to grab the last of the waffles off of a dining hall worker’s tray. (2.11, 4.05, 7.02)