The Little House Cookbook Review

by Angela England | Nov 3, 2019

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.

The Little House Cookbook Review

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:

  1. Food in the Little Houses
  2. The Cook’s Domain
  3. Staples from the Country Store
  4. Foods from the Woods, Wilds, and Waters
  5. Foods from Tilled Fields
  6. Foods from Gardens and Orchards
  7. Foods from the Barnyard
  8. Thirst Quenchers and Treats

Readers of the Little House books will recognize the hand of Garth Williams as the 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.

In 2018, a revamped 40th-anniversary edition was published, containing more than 100 recipes, like pulled molasses candy and corn dodgers, alongside excerpts from the Little House on the Prairie books.

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 Expect to see many quotes from the books, as well as historical references and educational tidbits. It will be the perfect addition to a homeschool unit study on the subject.

If you are tired of drooling over the amazing dishes described in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy and other books and want to try some for yourself, The Little House Cookbook is a must-read.

You can also find many step-by-step recipes inspired by The Little House Cookbook and Little House on the Prairie that we have published over the years below:

Subscribe to the monthly Little House on the Prairie newsletter to see the latest book reviews and news.

Mother of five living in rural Oklahoma with her husband and children, Angela is the Founder of Untrained Housewife, co-founder of the Homestead Bloggers Network and Organic Gardening expert at About.com. She is the author of Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less), as well as several other books, all with the common theme of helping people embrace the journey towards self-sufficiency.

20 Comments

  1. I had a copy of The Little House Cookbook that was published in 1979 but it was stolen from me during a move. I am looking for a certain recipe that was in the original book. It was for Old fashioned Pound Cake. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. I hope you can help me.

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  2. I love the little house on the Prairie! So it’s amazing to see that they share their recipes! I love to purchase it!

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  3. Where can I buy the little house cook books.

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  4. I always love watching Little House on the prairie and the W The Walton’s my dad had 7 in his family he was the oldest child.He always love watching these shows.I always love watching Laura and Nellie .Best TV shows ever!!!!!????????????‍????????????️⛺????

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  5. I have been trying for years to find the recipe that was in one of her books. The heart cookies. They were like shortbread. My daughter made them all the time. They were easy but soo good. Do you have the recipe. If so I would love if you would share. Thank you so much.

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  6. Caroline always made salt rising bread and biscuits. I’d love those 2 recipes

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  7. If I were to buy one cookbook for our family, which edition would you recommend? Thanks!

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  8. I’ve watched the show since I was a kid and still watch re-runs, can’t get enough how can I purchase a cookbook

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  9. I still watch it every day, this show is from my childhood, I would have loved to live in those days, seemed so peaceful nd easy. Not like today where it’s so difficult nd horrible, so much hate. ..

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  10. I love Little House On The Praire and still watch it.

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  11. I really want Laura’s cookbook

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  12. if Laura Ingalls Wilder was still alive I would go to meet her for the very first time.

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  13. I’ve had that very cookbook for a good 15 years…I still use it

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  14. I watch Little House every day still all 3-4 rerun episodes.. I would love to purchase the cookbook because I try to have a pioneer family night once a month with my family where we have only candles and meals that I see made on the show to eat for supper… No cell phones, no television, no lights just us with 6-7 candles lit in the middle of the table talking and eating…

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  15. I love everything about Little house on the praire. I’m 59 and still watching.

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    • I’m 54 and watch every day…twice a day! ????

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  16. I used to watch Little House on the Prairie a long time ago. And now I am watching it again. It was one of my favorite shows. Can’t wait for your newsletter. Thank you.

    Reply
  17. I have SUCH fond memories surrounding these books and the imagined flavors of the foods Laura and Mary would have eaten. Everything sounded so delicious in the stories…I think it would be so fun to make these recipes as I read these stories to my own children!

    Reply

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