I have fallen into a Star’s Hollow Spiral; a big Gilmore Gulf. I have been watching Gilmore Girls ad nauseum for a while.
Originally, it felt like something that would be comforting in the dark winter nights, like Friends but without the homophobia. It was, for a while. It was easy, simple television where people talked about food all the time. There was always this underlying feeling that I didn’t actually like the show much – that Lorelai is kind of forcing Rory into a friendship, that Luke is a plaid shirt both inside and out, that Rory is a bit wet and that the whole show should be Paris and Kirk going on a roadtrip anyway – but the silliness and slightly saccharine plot lines were nice enough to have on in the background.
But then, as I reached Season 5, I was hit with a sad realisation: I am Rory Gilmore. I am not fiercely independent Lorelai or dependable Dean, I am not angry, imperfect, endlessly entertaining Paris – no, I am Rory.
I should imagine if I’d watched this show when it was on the early noughties, I would’ve wanted to be Rory. Bookish, clever, unpopular-but-unfussed Rory, with her good grades and unusual disinterest in any kind of contemporary fiction. Now, of course, I’d choose to be Paris. But I am Rory.
I read something that said as the seasons trudge along, everyone makes uncharacteristic decisions because of some plot – including Rory’s choice to leave university after she learns she might not be good enough to follow the career path she’s dreamed of.
But it just didn’t seem uncharacteristic to me. Rory has been told her whole life she’s so good, and her performance in everything corroborates it. So when she isn’t, it all collapses, and she reacts in an extreme way because it suddenly seems like everyone’s been lying to her and she’s actually been hopelessly inadequate all along. And, well… I am a bit Rory Gilmore. Without sounding like an arrogant twat, I breezed through school on a wave of merits and As and then got to uni and fucked it. Uni was hard and I wasn’t good enough and so I quit because I wasn’t used to finding things hard (there are some footnotes to the situation I could add here but let’s leave those for now). I am Rory Gilmore, because sometimes I just can’t cope with not being good enough. In the months Rory spends living at her grandparents lamenting her very existence, I found so much of myself in her.
But I’m also not Rory Gilmore. Because I actually learned to cook, because once I’d well and truly failed at the thing I thought I was meant to do, I needed to learn to take care of myself or risk wallowing in the depths of self-pity for the rest of time. So I did, and that involves stuff like these Peanut Butter Noodles, which are quick and delicious and I love them so much that I often make them in big batches so I can take them to work with me and enjoy the nutty, silky, vibrant flavour at my desk. I might be a Rory in terms of my ability to handle failure, but I’m a Sookie St James wannabe in the kitchen.
Oh, and I’m also not a Rory Gilmore because I will literally never think someone is cool if they try to impress me with a magic trick. Never.
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup water (depends how "wet" you like a stir fry)
- A glug of oil (sunflower or sesame oil is good)
- 2/3 cloves garlic, minced
- Thumbnail sized bit of ginger, minced
- 3 or four handfuls of veg (I used carrot sticks, two peppers and sugar snap beans for this one - but bamboo shoots, tenderstem broccoli, mushrooms.... it's all good)
- 2 nests of noodles (I used the straight to wok ribbon kind here)
- 2 or 3 spring onions, sliced
- Juice of half a lime
- In a wee bowl, mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, honey and water, along with a little salt.
- Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan until it's proper hot, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir it about for a minute, without letting it burn, then add in the veg (carrots take longer to cook unless sliced well thin, so maybe give them a bit longer before adding in the rest). Keep it moving until the veg is nearly cooked through.
- Add the noodles to the pan, along with the sauce*. Keep moving for about 2 minutes until the noodles are cooked through and the sauce is hot. Stir through the spring onions, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- *If you're not using the straight to wok kind, cook the noodles according to pack instructions before throwing them in.