Peru and the Surgeon General

ALEX: Ready to try another? I hear there’s one from Peru that comes with a Surgeon’s General warning.

Peru, a country on the west coast of South America. Despite Alex’s warning, Peruvian coffee is said to be mild and light in flavour.

The surgeon general of the United States is the operational head of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and thus the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government of the United States. The US surgeon general is nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

In 2003, the Surgeon General of the US was Richard Carmona (born 1949); he was in the post from 2002 to 2006. In 2014 he wrote a book called 30 Days to a Better Brain, where he actually promoted coffee as a healthy drink that could improve mood and memory.

Hand washing

Francie comes to talk to Paris while she is washing her hands in the bathroom. Even though there are two containers of handwash at the basin, the viewer can see she is using her own handwash or hand sanitiser. This is meant to indicate how “crazy” and germphobic Paris is, but post-Covid, she now looks pretty sensible and well organised!

International Grab Bag Night

LORELAI: We are so in luck. It was international grab bag night at Al’s.
RORY: Cool. Did you peek?
LORELAI: And ruin the whole point of the mystery dinner? I think not. Pick.

Another quirky offering from Al’s Pancake World – on certain nights, how often is a mystery, Al offers an international grab bag, where you apparently receive a randomly assigned dinner from any national cuisine.

Who would be interested in this? Certainly not fussy eaters or people with food allergies, at least. To add to the chaos, diners apparently don’t know when it will be international grab bag night, as Lorelai proclaims that they are “in luck” that they happened to be buying dinner on that night.

Lorelai and Rory love this insane tradition because it is a game as well as food. They each pick one of the bags without looking, smell it, then try to guess what it is. Rory guesses hers is Moroccan, which is what she always says, on the basis that if you say the same thing every time, it will eventually be correct. Lorelai takes a cover-all-bases approach by declaring hers is Pan-Asian, with a hint of English Colonial and touches of South African.

Rory strongly implies that the food is old, suggesting that “grab bag night” might be a way of selling off out of date leftovers. It’s quite stomach-churning.

In the end, neither Gilmore girl can identify what food they have bought, and they end up going to Luke’s for dinner. What a waste of time, money, and food!


LORELAI: What’s going on?

SOOKIE: Uh, chaos? Uh, a travesty of cooking? It’s a salmonella laboratory in here!

Salmonella is a genus of bacteria, named after a veterinary surgeon called Daniel Salmon (1850-1914). Most salmonella infections are caused by eating food contaminated by faeces, so poor hygiene is the usual culprit. They can cause food poisoning, or in more serious cases, typhoid fever.

In fact, Sookie’s food handling is pretty unhygienic anyway – she’s constantly tasting things with her finger dipped in the food, or eating from the spoon then using it to stir food again. In this episode, she goes through the garbage and doesn’t wash her hands. The way food is treated on this show, you’d expect a salmonella outbreak on a weekly basis!

Jess and Mrs Kim

MRS. KIM: Who are you?

JESS: Jess . . . ma’am.

Jess is the town bad boy with a smart mouth for everyone. Only Mrs Kim can bring him instantly into line and force him to speak respectfully, and she does it with three words and a stern look. You can’t help thinking that if Jess had had a grandmother or aunt like Mrs Kim, he would be a very different kid.

It seems as if the fake egg sandwiches are the only food provided at the 24 hour dance marathon, which is pretty terrible. And there’s no refrigeration, so this seems like another salmonella outbreak waiting to happen on the show.

Devilled Eggs

LORELAI: “Take the deviled eggs!” How many times did the woman say it? And then her drunken friends hear it and they’re all shouting, “Take the deviled eggs!”

Devilled eggs (also known as stuffed eggs, Russian eggs, salad eggs, or dressed eggs)are hard-boiled eggs that have been shelled, cut in half, and filled with a mixture of the egg yolks, mayonnaise and mustard. They are generally served cold as a side dish, appetiser or a main course at parties. The dish’s origin go as far back as ancient Rome, but the modern version can be found in a 1896 cookery book by Fannie Farmer.

The instruction to “Take the devilled eggs” is where this episode’s title comes from. Lorelai and Rory have a two hour drive to get home, and the eggs have already been out on the table (we see them when Sherry and Lorelai are talking by the cake). Every episode of this show is a salmonella outbreak waiting to happen! Luckily nobody eats these disgusting old eggs – they were only thrown on a car.

“Our president said exercise”

JESS: You’re walking pretty fast for nothing.

RORY: Well, our president said exercise and I am very patriotic.

In June 2002, George W. Bush made an appearance to launch a federal campaign called The President’s Challenge that urged Americans to stay fit, eat healthier and kick bad habits, such as smoking. He issued twelve pages of recommendations on how Americans could improve their lifestyles, and urged people to walk for at least 30 minutes a day. The president was himself very fitness conscious, running and lifting weights every day.

Cardio Salsa, Miami Sound Machine

Salsa [pictured] is an energetic Latin dance, associated with the music genre of the same name, which was first popularised in the United States in the 1960s in New York City. Salsa is an amalgamation of Cuban dances, such as mambo, pachanga and rumba, as well as American dances such as swing and tap. It was primarily developed by Puerto Ricans and Cubans living in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Cardio salsa is a high-impact fitness routine that uses salsa dancing to keep the heart rate elevated at the same level it would be during jogging.

Miami Sound Machine, previously discussed.

It is never said where Lorelai got the cardio salsa tape that she shows Rory, but it’s interesting that Rory bought Michel a cardio salsa tape for Christmas in 2000 (Season 1). Has he re-gifted it to Lorelai? Rory never says that she recognises it, but she certainly doesn’t seem impressed.

Andre Cold Duck

LORELAI: And I, in turn, chimed in with my story about getting sick on Andre Cold Duck in the back of Peter Cutler’s car in ninth grade.

Andre Cold Duck is a sparkling red wine, which is sweet with a fruity flavour. Made in the Sacramento area, it is marketed as “California champagne” and is very cheap. It was a go-to choice for high schoolers and college students in the 1980s due to its price and syrupy flavour, and at that time was supposedly the best-selling sparkling wine in the US. Its sickly sweet taste meant that it was common to throw up from drinking it, like Lorelai did, and the sugary overtones also meant a killer headache the next day if you overindulged. Beware of its properties if you want to try it out!


[Lorelai walks up to the bar as a man is ordering a drink]

PEYTON: Can I get a Merlot, please?

Merlot, a deep purple-red wine made from the dark blue Merlot grape variety. The name is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French word for “blackbird”. Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions.

Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varieties around the world, and is produced internationally – in the US, California produces the most Merlot, after the “Merlot craze” of the 1990s, sparked by a 60 Minutes report on the low incidence of heart disease in France, which drinks a lot of red wine.