LORELAI: When is it [the engagement party]?
LORELAI: Uh, so your yen to hit the bingo parlour in Enfield was …?
SOOKIE: A vicious, vicious lie.
Enfield is a town in the Hartford region of Connecticut near the border with Massachusetts, with a population of around 40 000. Historically it was most famous for its carpet and gunpowder industries, and today is home to the US headquarters of Lego. It’s about an hour’s drive from the apparent location of Stars Hollow, and has three bingo halls.
LORELAI: Hey Sookie. Is there any coffee left? I had a really lousy night.
SOOKIE: Oh sorry. Ya know, I’ve been so busy I didn’t even think about it.
This scene takes place on the day following the night where Lorelai had a fight with Emily – oddly, they both take place on Saturdays. We know this because the fight took place the day after Friday Night Dinner, and the engagement party is also on a Saturday. But instead of those things being a week apart, they happen within 24 hours of each other.
MICHEL: Go back to the cooking room.
SOOKIE: Not until you eat these and tell me what you think!
MICHEL: Sookie! I only eat fifteen hundred calories a day. If I eat that, I cannot have my Boca Burger later.
Boca Burger is a vegetarian burger patty made from soy protein and wheat gluten, first manufactured in 1979. Boca Burger products have been owned by Kraft Foods since 2000.
We learn here that Michel eats only 1500 calories a day. One Boca Burger has around 70 calories, while macaroon has over 400 calories and a chocolate praline cookie over 300. Clearly if Michel eats both cookies, as Sookie wants him to, he’s going to have to give up more than a Boca Burger – he will have eaten around half of his daily calorie intake on just two cookies!
Maybe he’s including the bread and salad to accompany the patty, although even that would only be around 400 calories. Or maybe he is calculating the calories of just one bite from each cookie, since he would only need a taste of each to decide which one he prefers.
1500 calories a day is about the lowest amount of food recommended for a man, and it probably wouldn’t be recommended long term, especially for someone who’s already a healthy weight. Even men on calorie restriction diets usually eat around 1800 calories a day, and still lose weight doing so. We never actually see Michel lose much weight on his strict diet, so maybe he’s having a few cheat days.
Lorelai seems to eat as much as she wants while remaining slim, while poor old Michel apparently starves himself just to maintain a normal weight.
SOOKIE: Just pick a cookie.
MICHEL: I don’t want to.
SOOKIE: Michel, for the rest of their lives, Lorelai and Max are gonna think back on their engagement party and they’re gonna talk about three things. They’re gonna talk about the friends who came, and that special song they danced to, and the cookies that they ate.
MICHEL: Their world is very small, isn’t it?
SOOKIE: Macaroons or chocolate pralines?
Macaroons are small biscuits originating from Italy, and made since medieval times. They are typically made from ground almonds and egg whites, and are light and fluffy with a crisp outer coating. Macaroons made with coconut are common in both the UK and US, and they are a favourite treat for the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Chocolate praline cookies are chocolate biscuits that are often filled with nuts such as pecans, walnuts, or almonds, and may be covered in a rich chocolate icing or filled with chocolate paste.
We learn later in the episode that Sookie decided on the macaroons. The one she is showing Michel does not look like the standard Italian macaroon, as it is very large with pink icing on it. These massive decorated macaroons are an American interpretation of the Italian biscuit.
LORELAI: Do you know how it felt for me to tell you that I was getting married and to have you just brush it off like that? Do you know?
EMILY: No I don’t, I don’t know! Possibly very similar to finding out from a complete stranger that my only daughter was getting married and had told every other person in the world before she bothered to tell her own mother. Possibly it felt something like that. Now if you’ll excuse me, it is late, and I am going to bed.
Lorelai finally gets to tell her mother how she felt about having her engagement news treated so coldly. But in return, Emily gets to tell her that she already knew Lorelai was getting married, having heard it from someone she barely knows (she exaggerates by saying “a complete stranger”; she already met Sookie at Rory’s second birthday party).
A shocked and chastened Lorelai walks out of the house, for once having to consider someone else’s feelings more than her own.
EMILY: And this is what we need to discuss right now?
LORELAI: These [Emily’s maids] are women from countries that have dictatorships and civil wars and death squads and all of that they survived, but five minutes working for Emily Gilmore, and people are begging for Castro.
Fidel Castro (1926-2016) was a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who governed Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976, and as President from 1976 to 2008. He was also First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 to 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state, industry and business were nationalised, and socialist reforms implemented. Castro was the longest-serving non-royal head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries.
More than a million Cubans left their country to emigrate as political refugees, mostly to the United States, with Florida being the US state with the most Cuban-Americans. Lorelai suggests that at least a couple of Emily’s maids were Cuban-American, and there are more than 10 000 Cuban-Americans in Connecticut, with the highest number in Bridgeport.
EMILY: And what about me confuses you Lorelai?
LORELAI: Well, so many things. I mean, for example, why can’t you keep a maid in this house? I mean, there must’ve been a thousand women who’ve gone through here in the thirty-two years that I’ve been alive, and not one of them could stick it out.
In fact, Lorelai had her birthday about two months ago, and is now thirty-three. It’s possible that at this stage Lorelai’s birthday had not been settled on, and it might have been imagined as later in the year.
Poor Max is left to stand uncomfortably by the door, unwelcome and completely unacknowledged by Lorelai and Emily while they have their fight. It’s an inauspicious meeting with his prospective mother-in-law, and demonstrates he is little more than a sideshow in Lorelai’s life.