Interview with Kristi Carlson

Kristi Carlson, author of Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls and Eat Like a Gilmore: Seasons, talks about how she decided to write a cookbook, how she discovered Gilmore Girls (and why she loves it), her favorite places to visit in California, and her favorite spot to catch a sunrise/sunset. She also shares words of wisdom for aspiring authors!

Lauren — Travel and Write Today: How did you decide to write Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls. I love having it on the shelf!

Kristi Carlson: It was my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) idea! One day in our kitchen I told him I was feeling like I needed a creative outlet, a project that would be fun, constructive, and not work-related. Almost immediately, he suggested creating recipes for all the foods I loved on Gilmore Girls. As soon as he said it, I recognized it as the exact thing I wanted to do.

Eighteen months later I released Eat Like a Gilmore.

TWT: I love this so much – it was meant to be!

TWT: I started watching Gilmore Girls in 2017, and I’ve lost track of the number of rewatches I’ve done! It is just such a comforting show. When did you discover Gilmore Girls?

KC: When Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000 a friend of mine was totally into it and started watching right away. She would gush and gush about it, telling me how much I would love it, until I finally gave in and watched it. She was right! 

The Donna Reed episode was my starting place, and what a place to start! Between Rory’s costume, Lorelai’s Brando moment, the sexual tension between Lorelai and Luke, I had never seen a show like it. I was obsessed.

Love that you describe it as comforting. I totally agree. Over the years it has become a source of comfort for me, too. During times when I have battled anxiety, or have been wallowing after a breakup, rewatching Gilmore Girls has felt like an escape to a different part of my life. It’s soothing.

TWT: Wow, this gave me chills. I feel the same way. It is so soothing, and I watched daily during the lockdown in 2020.

TWT: I know you’ve been cooking since you were a child – where did your love of cooking come from…? Have you ever worked in a restaurant?

KC: Yes, I have worked in restaurants in a variety of roles. By far my favorite restaurant role was baking. Getting up when it’s still dark to go into a quiet, empty restaurant, fire up the ovens, have a cup of coffee before rolling out hundreds, if not thousands, of baked goods is so romantic to me, still is… That’s the part I remember most. 

So, it’s probably not a surprise that when I was little, I would get up early, sit with my grandmother while she enjoyed a cup of coffee, then she and I would team up in the kitchen and bake together! I loved those times with her. Even after all these years, I’m still not as talented at baking as she was. 

TWT: Baking really is romantic – that’s why it is the theme for so many Hallmark holiday movies!

TWT: Where did you grow up? Do you still get back there?

KC: I grew up moving around the Midwest. I don’t get back very often, no. I do miss it pretty often, especially in the Summer when people start sharing all of their “summer on the lake” photos. I guess I miss the Michigan lakes most of all.

TWT: I know you live out in California – what are some of your go-to spots for a road trip? What are some of your favorite restaurants?

KC: I feel like I could drive in any direction in California and turn it into a magical road trip! A quick trip to Malibu, a day trip to San Diego, a weekend trip to Big Bear, or a longer trip up to the Central Coast are among my favorite local getaways. 

As for restaurants, I’ve loved Boccaccio’s in Westlake for a long time. They know how to create a full dining experience with delicious food, romantic lakeside ambiance and terrific, after-dinner cappuccinos! 

TWT: What is your go-to coffee/tea order, and from where?

KC: This is really boring (but very Lorelai!), my go-to is black coffee. I like that it’s quick and simple. Plus, it gives me the true flavor of the coffee. I usually just drop into Starbucks for a Pike. Like Mitchum, I switch to decaf in the afternoon, or else I’m up all night on Tiktok!

TWT: Love the Mitchum reference! My go-to is Pike Place too! (TikTok can be very addicting…)

TWT: Where is your favorite spot to watch a sunrise/sunset? 

KC: My cat, Mitzi, and I like to watch the sun come up together through the dining room window. I open the window, even if it’s raining or cold, so we can both smell the air and get a feel for the day ahead. I never did this before she came to live with us in 2020. I credit her for adding this ritual to my life.

For sunsets, I love to sit on the sand in Malibu with my husband. We only do it a few times each year, but it’s always worth the drive!

TWT: What is your favorite book?

KC: When I was a teen, I read a series of books by Celeste de Blasis called The Wild Swan Trilogy; historical novels that begin in England in 1800 and end in post-Civil War Maryland. They are expertly researched and, whenever I read them, I feel like I have a glimpse into people’s lives and into the US culture during that time. 

For non-fiction, I am partial to The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Many of the ideas I put into play in Eat Like a Gilmore came from that book. It’s filled with clever ideas and unique perspectives about money, business, and marketing. 

TWT: What advice would you give to aspiring authors (for all genres)? 

KC: The piece of advice I heard recently and loved is: 

“Write drunk. Edit sober.”

I’m not much of a drinker these days but I love the idea of this. In essence, write with abandon. Lock your inner critic in the basement and just let the creativity flow. 

If having a couple cocktails, or getting amped up on caffeine or sugar helps, do that! Whatever it takes. Let the throttle out.

Give the work a day or two to rest, then edit, and edit ruthlessly.

TWT: Oh wow – that is my favorite writing quote too! It is from Hemingway!

Follow Kristi here:


Instagram: @malibukristi

Facebook: @eatlikeagilmore

TikTok: @kristicarlsonauthor

Twitter: @malibukristi