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

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  2,722 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
More than 100 recipes introduce the foods and cooking of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s pioneer childhood, chronicled in her classic Little House books.Notable Children’s Books of 1979 (ALA)
Best Books of 1979 (SLJ)
Notable 1979 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
Children's Books of 1979 (Library of Congress)
1980 Western Heritage Award
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 7th 1989 by HarperCollins (first published 1979)
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The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. WalkerLeo Tolstoy by S. PavlenkoThe Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie BlackThe Pooh Cook Book by Virginia H. EllisonThe Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz
Literary Cookbooks
1st out of 124 books — 45 voters
The Little House Collection by Laura Ingalls WilderLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderLittle Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderThe Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. WalkerLittle House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House
4th out of 100 books — 18 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kelly Ferguson
Oct 16, 2011 Kelly Ferguson rated it it was amazing
For Laura Ingalls Wilder fans, The Little House Cookbook is a no-brainer, must-have, geek fest. As a Laurafan, I’ve been salivating over Ma’s vanity cakes and sourdough biscuits since 1972, pining for those heart-shaped cakes sprinkled in white sugar. Chapters often feature a quote and original illustration by Garth Williams form the “Little House” series. Even the font and point size are the same. Comfort and nostalgia abound.

An admitted “Bonnethead,” I read with the intention of holding a pion
Jun 30, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, food
Alternate title: Things No One Wants To Eat Ever. Blackbird Pie made with starlings you hunt yourself, cottage cheese balls (eat the curds and use the whey to fertilize your garden), and apples you dry by spearing on a curtain rod and hanging on a laundry rack near a radiator.

In this cookbook, Walker attempts to recreate the recipes for foods found in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. What's good about the book is that it pulls extensive quotes from Wilder's books and follows them with
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Happy B=Day Laura.

A few years back we did our Thanksgiving Day Dinner out of this. Featured some trout a friend of ours caught. Don't recall what=else ; but it was superior to the typically bland US menu for this most imperialistic of Holidaze. [still looking forward to that Corn=Fed Crow The Significant mentions on occasion]
Feb 15, 2011 Zack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I know I probably shouldn't judge a cookbook without trying out a single recipe in it, but I'm giving this five stars for these reasons:
— Walker has done a tremendous amount of work, tracking down every mention of food or drink in all the "Little House" books and trying to come up with a recipe for each.
— each section describes generally how food production and storage methods in each category (meat, dairy, vegetables, grains, etc.) have evolved, from the time before Laura Ingalls was born to th
Nov 10, 2010 Audrey rated it really liked it
"'It takes a great deal to feed a growing boy,' Mother said. And she put a thick slice of birds-nest pudding on his bare plate, and handed him the pitcher of sweetened cream speckled with nutmeg. Almanzo poured the heavy cream over the apples nested in the fluffy crust. The syrupy brown juice curled up around the edges of the cream. Almanzo took up his spoon and ate every little bit." (from Farmer Boy).

The Little House books are filled with glorious, worshipful descriptions of food which could o
Cassie Wicks
Apr 12, 2011 Cassie Wicks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a wonderful book because it has authentic recipes, not just watered down versions of real pioneer food. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the Little House series.
Tara Schaafsma
May 01, 2016 Tara Schaafsma rated it it was amazing
This was great! I bought it because we were reading the little house books, and Lyra said how she wanted to make some of the food. There is a paragraph about the food from the book, then a little history of it, and then the closest recipe that the author could make/find. Many of the ingredients are specialty items now, but we have already tried a few of the recipes and it has been fun.
Dec 27, 2015 Jana rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
I wanted to read this cookbook more for the historical insights it would provide into cooking methods during Laura Ingalls Wilder's lifetime than for inspiration, and I was not disappointed. As a child, I didn't really appreciate the limitations of a prairie pioneer diet (or the monotonous reliance on corn meal) or how hungry the Ingalls family must have been during The Long Winter; Barbara Walker provides context for the recipes, as well as helpful updates to incorporate modern ingredients and ...more
Erin Feller
May 08, 2015 Erin Feller rated it it was amazing
Personal Reaction
This book is packed with recipes that I actually really want to try out! This book does a great job of presenting information on how to cook food while giving the history behind the dish. This book combines so many great things: The Little House on the Prairie, good informational books, and food!

Purpose/use in the classroom
After assigning the little house of the Prairie books to my 3rd to 4th graders I would use this book to discuss informational writing then try out a recipe
Ginny Messina
May 12, 2008 Ginny Messina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food, liw
I have always wanted to make Ma Ingalls Green Pumpkin Pie. Now that I actually have a recipe, I may devote a big chunk of this year’s veggie garden to growing pumpkins. (I don’t know where else I’ll find green ones). This book is more than just fun; it’s educational and a nice resource for understanding the ingredients used in 19th century recipes and how to recreate those recipes today.

Mar 06, 2007 linda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Little House fans, parents and children, foodies and food historians
Shelves: food
If you read the Little House books and were fascinated with the descriptions of food -- this is for you. It's not just a cookbook, it's also a wonderful food history and social context to the actual series of books, which has never faded from my most beloved list of rereads on a rainy day. And also? Come on. It teaches you how to make pancake men.
May 29, 2016 Cat rated it it was amazing
It's not that I want to utilize the recipes in this finely researched cookbook. In fact, most of them sounds bland. (especially the numerous cornmeal recipes where they all pretty much uses the same ingredients) However the book made me feel nostalgic for the simple times gone past. I remember reading the food porn in the little house books as a youngster. It made me realize at the time that most foods can actually be made at HOME. And it was GOOD. It was a revelation for me. Duncan hines was no ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
This is a cookbook that’s more than a cookbook. The author goes into detail about each recipe, with quotes from the book it was mentioned in, and also relevant information about cooking at the time.

Some notes as I read:

Even though I feel like I spend a lot of time cooking now, it’s nothing compared to Laura’s days. Caroline Ingalls and her pioneer sisters would have had little time for “finding themselves” or hobbies when one realizes the huge amount of time it took to prepare food and keep the
Oct 03, 2014 QNPoohBear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This cookbook contains old-fashioned recipes like the ones Ma Ingalls and Mrs. Wilder used to make. The recipes included come from the text of the books and are accompanied by the passage from the novel and Garth Williams' charming illustrations. It includes rye and injun bread, maple syrup on snow, fried apples and onions and many more. I used to check this book out of the library all the time. I don't think I ever really used it but I liked learning about pioneer food. When the library weeded ...more
Kirsten T
Jan 12, 2015 Kirsten T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this cookbook growing up and I think I read it cover to cover a dozen times. The recipes are accompanied by excerpts from the books so it was kind of like re-reading the series but with only the most delicious/least racist parts. I don't think I ever cooked a single recipe from here, though I do vividly remember scraping my knees while running at the backyard maple tree in an ill-conceived attempt to extract syrup from it with a chopstick in the middle of summer, because I wanted to make ...more
Jun 24, 2015 Jekapner rated it it was amazing
Excellent as a book to just read, with recipes that are good as well. The recipes are authentic, which is great, although this authenticity also means that they often call for such things as lard, starlings, a hare, green tomatoes, or other difficult-to-find ingredients. Before each recipe is an excerpt from the Little House books in which the recipe is mentioned, and there are lengthy introductions about cooking in the pioneer days. I highly recommend it, less as a cookbook than an enjoyable re ...more
Sep 11, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: cook-books
The recipes in this cookbook are adaptations on recipes cooked by pioneer women. Because of this, they aren't necessarily recipes I would be interested in making today. What I did enjoy about the book though, is the history the author went into when writing about the different methods of cooking, about what types of fruit and vegetables were eaten in the 1800's versus what we eat now and the detail she used when adapting the recipes to modern kitchens. Unfortunately, I would not recommend this b ...more
Recently, I really enjoyed reading The Wilder Life. by Wendy McClure - in it she mentioned The Little House Cookbook. I hadn't thought of it in years, but I remember getting it out of the library multiple times when I was in elementary school. I was pleased to discover it's still out there! The research Barbara Walker did into the foods that appear in the Little House books is very impressive, and makes for interesting reading, although not for the squeamish or the vegetarian (and I'm the latter ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
As a child, I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mom was also a great cook so when I came across this book on one of our library trips, I was intent on having her help me recreate the old-fashioned recipes. Although I think it is now out of print, my mom was eventually able to get me my own copy simply because she was sick of having to check it out of our library every time we went.

As I recall, the recipies are, where possible, organized according to where the ingredients would have come
Wendy Mills
Jun 21, 2016 Wendy Mills rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the excerpts taken from the Little House books, combined with the history of pioneer cooking, how it differs from modern day cooking, and the many ways in which those pioneer recipes we first read about in the Little House stories were adapted so that they could be cooked in modern stoves, etc or explained so that modern day cooks could experience what it was like to make them like Ma Ingalls or Mother Wilder and other pioneer women did.
Nov 05, 2014 Sonja rated it really liked it
I picked up this book for my daughter who is reading the series. I expected it to be a kitschy collection of recipes. I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of historical data and background. The author has created an excellent window into the era's culinary history. I don't plan to make any of the recipes, but they look far more authentic than I would have expected. The book is also very fun to read. :-)
Wendy Klik
Feb 20, 2016 Wendy Klik rated it liked it
If you are a Little House fan and spend time considering what it would be like to have lived and survived during those times you will find this book and the recipes interesting. See my complete review at http://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspo...
Apr 06, 2008 Dioscita rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Little House fans
Shelves: cooking-food
This is an interesting combination of Walker's trials in replicating food described in the Little House series, a look at what pioneer food/eating/cooking was like (particularly as they differ from today), and excerpts from various books in the series. While reading the books I would often wonder what, say, "hardtack" was (and what it tastes like), so I thought I would be totally gung-ho about making these different dishes. However, a glance at the ingredients in most of these recipes begs the q ...more
Dec 06, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I'm in the middle of this book, and am really enjoying reading it. I owned the box set of the Laura Ingalls books when I was young, and read them over and over again! So, a good part of the enjoyment comes from the nostalgia of remembering the stories I loved so much 3-ish decades ago. :) However, it has not increased my desire to cook blackbird pie, or use QUITE so much salt pork in my cooking! I also doubt that I'll be making cracklins or very many of the other recipes, but reading about how t ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Alison rated it really liked it
The author made and discussed all the foods mentioned in the Little House series. Heavily illustrated and with quotes from the books. Interesting for history and for food. Quite a contrast between the lavish spreads of Almonzo's childhood and the austerity of Laura's.
Aug 07, 2015 Tammy rated it it was amazing
As a child I had this book, and I am pleased to have found another copy to add to my shelves. To this day I remember the sourdough biscuits we made. It is a fun look into how they ate 100 years ago, made even more fun because it can be tied to real person and her family.
Sep 03, 2015 Carrie rated it really liked it
I'll start by saying that I don't usually read cookbooks, but this one was half cookbook and half textbook. The recipes are authentic as possible, with the substitutions due to necessity clearly explained (e.g., using starlings in pie because blackbirds aren't readily available). Really interesting read.
Apr 24, 2016 Christine rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Mostly of historical interest to me, because I have neither the time nor inclination to start making my own vinegar or spending five months inspecting cheese for mold. But interesting for fans of the series.
Nov 17, 2011 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, juvenile
This book is just what the title says: the author has gone back to all the books in the Little House series, and found recipes. In some ways, it's written as for a child (warnings to have an adult help, for example), but I think most children would be bored reading it. I found the explanations between the recipes much more interesting than the recipes themselves -- it's sort of hard to read all the details in a recipe you don't plan to cook. However, I was thrilled to find a recipe for vinegar p ...more
Sep 04, 2008 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I think this book is wonderful. I understand why some may not because it is better titled a cookbook rather than a recipe book. The recipes are not in a standard recipe book format and really it is more of a book you have to actually read. However, the author did a lot of research on cooking and food from the 1800's. It is this knowledge that is so fun and enriching in this book. I LOVED in the "Little House" books and read them almost every year. These recipes have been fun. I have been trying ...more
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