CAROL: Stupid manager made me cover for Fiona today. That girl’s a major pie crust.
Pie crust, US slang for someone who is flaky (like pastry), unreliable. An old American proverb is, “Promises are like pie crust, easily broken”, so linking unreliability and pie crust goes back at least to the 19th century.
While Luke is serving customers at the diner, Kirk and two young boys come in, ordering old fashioned soda shop drinks. It soon transpires they were sent by Taylor, making a point how necessary such a soda shop is, which Taylor wants to install in the space next to the diner, owned by Luke. Kirk already works for Taylor, and the two boys are presumably in his Boy Scout troop.
Black Cow: Traditional name for a root beer float, which is root beer with vanilla ice cream. In some areas, the ice cream has to be chocolate in order to be called a black cow, and others say brown cow instead. (Root beer is a North American soft drink made using the root bark of the sassafras tree, or the sarsaparilla vine, Smilas ornata). Frank J. Wisner, owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewing, is credited with creating the first root beer float in 1893. The North American fast food chain A&W Restaurants are well known for their root beer floats.
Chocolate Phosphate: Traditional soda fountain drink, which is chocolate syrup and acid phosphate added to club soda. Acid phosphate is a mixture added to drinks which gives it a slightly tart flavour, and aids carbonation – a partially neutralised solution of diluted phosphoric acid made with salts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s recently come back into fashion as a mixer for soft drinks and cocktails.
JESS: It was hot. Two weeks ago there was a run on snow cones.
A snow cone is a dessert made of shaved or ground up ice, topped with a flavoured syrup, usually served in a paper cone or foam cup. Ice desserts began being made in the US in the mid-19th century, when ice became commercially available. By the late 19th century, theatres were selling them in the summer to keep patrons cool, and they were seen as an upper-class commodity. They became popular in the Great Depression and during World War II, as they had become so cheap almost anyone could afford one as a treat.
Luke’s Diner apparently has a machine that makes snow cones, at least during the summer months and for the tourist trade.
EMILY: How is your Caesar salad dressing prepared?
LUKE: I’ll have to call Paul Newman and ask him.
Luke is saying he doesn’t make his own salad dressing, he is using a bottle of Newman’s Own dressing, a brand of condiments and foods founded by Hollywood star Paul Newman and author A.E. Hotchner in 1982. The company, headquartered in Westport, Connecticut, donates 100% of its after-tax profits to the Newman’s Own Foundation, a private non-profit foundation which supports various charitable causes – one of them is the SeriousFun Children’s Network, residential summer camps for seriously ill children all over the world, which Newman co-founded in 1988.
Emily debates whether to order Caesar salad or Cobb salad for lunch at Luke’s diner.
A classic Caesar salad [pictured] consists of whole leaves of romaine lettuce and croutons, dressed with lime juice, olive oil, coddled eggs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Its creation is attributed to Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who had restaurants in Mexico and the US. He is said to have invented the salad in 1924 at his restaurant Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico, when a busy Fourth of July left his kitchen depleted. He used what ingredients he had on hand, adding flair by tossing the salad at the table. In 1946, the salad was introduced to New York by Gilmore’s (!) Steak House, who added anchovies into the mix. Although Cardini disapproved, anchovies are now usually added. Lemon juice is also typically substituted for the lime juice.
Cobb salad is a classic American garden salad usually made from chopped salad greens, tomato, crisp bacon, fried chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, blue cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. The ingredients aren’t mixed together, but laid on the plate in neat rows. There are various stories as to how it was created, one being that it was invented in 1938 by Robert Cobb, the owner of the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, where it became a signature dish. The legend goes that Cobb hadn’t managed to eat until nearly midnight, and made the salad out of leftovers he found in the kitchen.
Coddled eggs are eggs that have been gently poached in a ramekin in a bain-marie, cooked just below boiling point. There is a risk of salmonella from eating them unless you are careful, hence Emily’s concern about ordering the Caesar salad. In the end, she orders the Cobb salad, where the eggs are hard boiled instead.
Note that Emily’s worry about the coddled eggs is basically the same conversation that Lorelai had with Sookie about mussels when they went out to dinner on their double date with Jackson and Rune. In both cases, Lorelai pleads with them to choose something else from the menu, in almost the same words.
LUKE: It’s the third day in a row you’ve ordered soup for breakfast.
Because she has a cold, Lorelai has ordered chicken noodle soup and mashed potato for breakfast at the diner. Mashed potato is soft and easy to eat, even with a sore throat, while chicken noodle soup is well known as a home remedy for colds, clearing nasal congestion and providing nutrition and hydration at the same time. I have never heard of anyone eating them for breakfast though, even when ill, and I would have thought it wasn’t a good idea to go out to breakfast when you have a cold, spreading your germs in a place where people eat.
RORY: Something smells good …. Oh, braised lamb shank! I love a lamb shank when it is braised.
Lamb shanks are the leg bone of the animal, between the knee and the shoulder, eaten whole. Braising means to brown the meat at a high temperature, then simmer it in a covered pot in liquid, such as tomatoes, stock, vinegar or wine, until the meat is tender and infused with flavour. Crock pots are a popular way to cook braised lamb shanks.
Apparently braised lamb shank is one of Rory’s favourite meals that she has at her grandparents’ place. Lamb seems to be one of their most commonly served dishes.
EMILY: This new little place opened right down the road from our house and they make these wonderful scones, and that is their mix so you can make them right in your own kitchen.
Scones are a baked good, a type of quick bread which uses baking powder as the leavening agent rather than yeast, usually served buttered or topped with jam and cream. They seem to have originated in Scotland, and are common and popular as part of morning or afternoon tea throughout the UK and Ireland.
In the US, scones are usually sweet, heavy, dry, and crumbly, more like a rock cake. They are usually triangular in shape, and filled with fruit such blueberries or sultanas, or flavoured with pumpkin, cinnamon, or chocolate chips. They may be topped with icing, and are usually served as they are, without butter or toppings. They are not very much like what a British person would recognise as a scone. [Picture shows American scones].
LORELAI: Okay, so, do we do cheese stick, hot dog, cotton candy, or do we mix it up a little – start with the cotton candy and end with the cheese stick?
Cheese-on-a-stick, a carnival food item in the US, consisting of deep fried cheese coated with cornmeal batter, on a stick to hold it with. Dipping sauces may also be provided. Mozzarella is a popular cheese to use, and they seem to date to the 1970s.
LORELAI: Oh, but I got here early and there was nothing to do except feed gummy bears to the bomb dogs which, apparently, the United States government frowns upon.
Gummy bears are small fruit gum candy, like a jelly baby, but in the shape of a bear. The candy originated in Germany, when Hans Riegel Sr, a confectioner from Bonn who founded the Haribo candy company, invented the candy in 1922. They have always been extremely popular in Germany, and are sold in the US.