The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories

The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories

Paperback(3RD)

$9.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, August 27

Overview

This award-winning cookbook features more than 100 of the recipes that Laura Ingalls Wilder chronicles in her classic Little House books. A great gift for Little House fans and anyone who wants more information about what life on the prairie was really like.

With this cookbook, you can learn how to make classic frontier dishes like corn dodgers, mincemeat pie, cracklings, and pulled molasses candy. The book also includes excerpts from the Little House books, fascinating and thoroughly researched historical context, and details about the cooking methods that pioneers like Ma Ingalls used, as well as illustrations by beloved artist Garth Williams.

This is a chance to dive into the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, American pioneer, women's club member, and farm homesteader.

This book has been widely praised and is the winner of the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Horn Book praised it as "a culinary and literary feast."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064460903
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/07/1989
Series: Little House Nonfiction Series
Edition description: 3RD
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 267,801
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Barbara Walker discovered the Little House series when her daughter, Anna, was four and fond of serial stories and kitchen craft. What began as pleasant diversion—re-creating frontier food—became serious study for the author after a family trip west by way of some Little House sites. Eight years of intermittent reading, writing, and testing produced The Little House Cookbook.

Anna is now married and has her own little house. Barbara Walker still writes on a variety of subjects from the home she shares with her husband outside Ossining, New York. She regrets the disappearance of lard piecrust, hard cheese, and sausage from her diet but finds solace in making bread from her original sourdough starter.


Garth Williams is the renowned illustrator of almost one hundred books for children, including the beloved Stuart Little by E. B. White, Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

He was born in 1912 in New York City but raised in England. He founded an art school near London and served with the British Red Cross Civilian Defense during World War II. Williams worked as a portrait sculptor, art director, and magazine artist before doing his first book Stuart Little, thus beginning a long and lustrous career illustrating some of the best known children's books.

In addition to illustrating works by White and Wilder, he also illustrated George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square and its sequels (Farrar Straus Giroux). He created the character and pictures for the first book in the Frances series by Russell Hoban (HarperCollins) and the first books in the Miss Bianca series by Margery Sharp (Little, Brown). He collaborated with Margaret Wise Brown on her Little Golden Books titles Home for a Bunny and Little Fur Family, among others, and with Jack Prelutsky on two poetry collections published by Greenwillow: Ride a Purple Pelican and Beneath a Blue Umbrella. He also wrote and illustrated seven books on his own, including Baby Farm Animals (Little Golden Books) and The Rabbits’ Wedding (HarperCollins).

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Food in the Little Houses

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Pepin, Wisconsin, in 1867. In 1932, when she was sixty-five years old, she wrote her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, a lightly fictionalized account of her childhood days in her first frontier home. The next year she followed with Farmer Boy, recounting her husband Almanzo's boyhood on the prosperous Wilder dairy farm outside Malone, New York, not far from the Canadian border. During the next ten years she wrote and published the seven books that have, with the first two, become known around the world (and in fifteen languages) as the "Little House" books-Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years. In them she traced the migration of her family-Ma, Pa, and sisters Mary, Grace, and Carrie-from Pepin to the southern Kansas border, on to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, to Silver Lake, South Dakota, and finally to DeSmet; South Dakota. These Happy Golden Years is set on the Homestead Act claim settled by the Ingallses outside DeSmet; it ends with Laura's marriage at eighteen to Almanzo Wilder. The First Four Years tells of their life together on their own claim not far away.

Throughout this now classic series much of the action centers on food---hunting it, growing it, losing it to natural disasters, cooking it, preserving it, and eating it. On the frontier, feeding the family was a task that took most of everyone's time.

For Pa there was no weekly paycheck to be exchanged for shelter, clothing, and groceries. Pa pursued thefood with gun, trap, and plow; Ma prepared and preserved it; and the children helped in both activities.

Food also looms large in this pioneer chronicle because there was rarely enough of it. Though she tells of being listless and weak from near-starvation during the Long Winter, the storybook Laura never complains of hunger. Yet the real grownup Laura's memory for daily fare and holiday feasts says more about her eagerness for meals, her longing for enough to eat, than it does about her interest in cooking. Farmer Boy is not merely her husband's story; it is her own fantasy of blissful youth, surrounded on all sides by food.

The Wilders were established farmers in an area that favored dairy herds and offered a market for dairy products. Caroline Quiner and Charles Ingalls-Ma and Pa-had been raised as farmers, but on land newly turned to the plow. Ma and Pa would carry on the pioneer tradition of their parents, struggling to establish a farm with cash crops, products to sell, but living meanwhile as nomads, off staples from the country store and food from the wilds.

It was their migrant life, as much as the seasons, that shaped the Ingallses' diet, and this fact provides the organizing principle of our recipes. Basic to their lives were the tools and staples that could be paid or bartered for, regardless of place or season. Next in importance were the gifts of Nature-fish from the rivers, berries from the brush, game from the woods and prairies-to be gathered in the summer and fall and preserved for winter and spring. Bread from their own wheat was the Ingallses' dream; usually it was made from store flour. Fresh garden vegetables and barnyard meats and eggs and cheeses were, for both Laura and Almanzo, childhood fare that became elusive prizes.

Neither Mother Wilder nor Ma knew anything of the science of nutrition; vitamins and vitamin deficiencies are discoveries of the twentieth century. But they knew that a diet varied enough to please the palate and eye was likely to be a healthful one as well. Picture, If you will, this Sunday dinner on the Wilder farm:

If this seems heavy with starches and sweets, remember that it was served to a family accustomed to hard physical labor and unaccustomed to centrally-heated houses. And that it was described by an author who ate far more cornmeal, lean game and wild fruits as a child than breads, fats, and desserts. A special meal on the prairie-the one for Mr. Edwards, for instance, consisted of "stewed jack rabbit with white-flour dumplings and plenty of gravy . . . steaming-hot cornbread flavored with bacon fat ... molasses to eat on the cornbread" and coffee sweetened with brown sugar.

Celebrations and social gatherings were a time for eating. Socializing for young and old took the form of church suppers and evenings at home popping corn or pulling candy. But the reverse was not always true; mealtimes were not a time for socializing. Usually children were permitted to speak only when spoken to. Both Almanzo and the Ingalls girls were fortunate in having parents who conversed at the table and included them. Certainly they were better off than many colonial children, a century earlier, who stood by as their parents occupied the only chairs at the table and waited for morsels from grownups' plates.

As the Ingallses moved westward into more primitive conditions, the eastern United States was in the throes of the Industrial Revolution. The Great Centennial Exhibition of 1876 was virtually a preview of the twentieth century. Visitors to its vast Philadelphia site could see Alexander Graham Bell and his new telephone, observe a demonstration "kindergarten," and hear joseph Lister expound his latest discoveries about disinfecting wounds. They could dine on the most cosmopolitan fare in restaurants featuring French, German, Austrian, and Chinese dishes.

That same year, 1876, the storybook Laura was eight (nine in real life) and living "on the banks of Plum Creek." Her family had just moved from the Kansas prairie, where the cooking was done, as it had been done for centuries, in an open fireplace. Her new home had a wonderful surprise for Ma, an iron cookstove. More up-to-date than the Wisconsin stove, it had a "big door on the side" which opened to show a "big square place with a shelf across it"; in other words, an oven.

In experiencing both hearth cooking and stove cooking, Laura witnessed the greatest change in the whole history of home cookery. She would live to see many more changes-to kerosene and coal stoves, to gas and electric stoves, and to automatic coffee pots and electric dishwashers-and she would never lose her sense of wonder about them. On a visit to her daughter in San Francisco in her forty-eighth year, she wrote to Almanzo, "Aladdin with his wonderful lamp had no more power than the modern woman in her kitchen.

The Little House Cookbook. Copyright © by Barbara Walker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
sagrundman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a cookbook that contains recipes and information about cooking in the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder. While they may not be the actual recipes that were used, they are accurate recipes for the time period. The author also explains the kitchen of then vs. the kitchen of now . It is very for children to see the differences because it helps make the books and history real to them. The books itself is organized fairly well. It is split up into different categories like "Foods from the Tilled Fields" which are all recipes using things like grains and corns. There are some problems with organization in the fact that some recipes call for other recipes in different parts of the book which you then have to flip to. The author pulls in quotes from the books to help place where the food can be found in the Little House Books. This can be useful for a teacher or parent who is trying to tie the books into. The recipes will have somethings that are hard to find in modern supermarkets. I had lots of fun as a child with my mom, my third grade teacher, and my grandma doing recipes from this book. I feel that it is a good book for family time and family activities. A middle school age child should be able to understand everything in the book, but it is just more fun to use it in a group!
sbigger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a cookbook that contains recipes and information about cooking in the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder. While they may not be the actual recipes that were used, they are accurate recipes for the time period. The author also explains the kitchen of then vs. the kitchen of now . It is very for children to see the differences because it helps make the books and history real to them. The books itself is organized fairly well. It is split up into different categories like "Foods from the Tilled Fields" which are all recipes using things like grains and corns. There are some problems with organization in the fact that some recipes call for other recipes in different parts of the book which you then have to flip to. The author pulls in quotes from the books to help place where the food can be found in the Little House Books. This can be useful for a teacher or parent who is trying to tie the books into. The recipes will have somethings that are hard to find in modern supermarkets. I had lots of fun as a child with my mom, my third grade teacher, and my grandma doing recipes from this book. I feel that it is a good book for family time and family activities. A middle school age child should be able to understand everything in the book, but it is just more fun to use it in a group!
ShawnMarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of the Little House books (not the TV show) then you will appreciate this cookbook. Cooks, however, will hate this book because the recipes are generally awful. If you have kids this is a fun book to have on hand while reading the series to further explore the life of LIW.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great go-along with the Little House stories. Which are great if you are studying pioneers. We loved the books and the cookbook. The recipes are very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I always wanted to taste the food Ma cooked,she was a good cook indeed for trying to recreate them requires a bit of patience. I liked also reading it and gave me a good insight how it really was. Its a cookbook yu can enjoy reading.