You can’t help but think about food as you read through the Little House books – so much of a pioneer’s life revolved around growing and acquiring food on a seasonal cycle. Indeed, large passages of the books are dedicated to the description of food and meals. So it’s no surprise that one of the books inspired by the Little House series would be a cookbook.
Basic Information About The Little House Cookbook
The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories was written by Barbara M. Walker and was originally published in 1979 by Harper & Row (now HarperCollins). My paperback edition is over 225 pages of exposition and recipes centered around the books. There are a total of eight chapters, plus a glossary, conversion charts, bibliography, and a robust index. The chapters are:
- Food in the Little Houses
- The Cook’s Domain
- Staples from the Country Store
- Foods from the Woods, Wilds, and Waters
- Foods from Tilled Fields
- Foods from Gardens and Orchards
- Foods from the Barnyard
- Thirst Quenchers and Treats
Readers of the Little House books will recognize the hand of Garth Williams as illustrator in this lovely cookbook – the classic pen and ink sketches adorn many pages. While typically cookbooks are best shown with photographs to highlight the recipes, it seems more than fitting to have Mr. Williams’ illustrations woven throughout the book instead.
What You’ll Love About The Little House Cookbook
If you are a fan of the Little House books and have wondered where to start in recreating some of the dishes mentioned, you will love the work that Barbara has put into writing the recipes. While it is very likely that Laura learned the recipes by observation and feel, for example early cook fires did not have temperature control for baking breads or pies, the recipes have been translated into something more consistent and easily followed by today’s cooks.
Don’t expect this book to be a simple collection of recipes the way that many cookbooks are. Many of the chapters explore the hows and whys of food during that time period. Expect to see many quotes from the books, as well as historic references and educational tidbits. It will be the perfect addition to a homeschool unit study on the subject.
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