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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,612 ratings  ·  124 reviews
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 praisie was really like.

With this cookbook, you can learn how to make classic frontier dishes like corn dodgers, mincemeat pie, cracklings, a
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 7th 1989 by HarperCollins (first published 1979)
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Prairie cooking for Little House fans. A nice companion to the series as here you will find the recipes from the Little House books, as well as cooking techniques and historical context. As a fan of the Little House series, I really enjoyed learning more about all that went on "behind the scenes" to put dinner on the table (no matter how meager it might be). From field or forest to dinner table was an involved process and a far cry from today's much simplified cooking. Really makes you appreciat ...more
Kelly Ferguson
Oct 16, 2011 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 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
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Growing up, I was a die-hard Little House fan. The books, the show, the time period, the attire- I loved it all! So when I saw The Little House Cookbook for sale on @bookoutlet I knew I had to get myself a copy! Reading this was like being reacquainted with an old friend. ♥️ I will likely not try a majority of the recipes included but there are some Im excited to try! This book is rich in backstory and history and I loved that aspect of it. This ignited a passion in me to re-read through the ser ...more
Nov 08, 2010 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
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]
Mar 06, 2007 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.
Cassie Wicks
Apr 12, 2011 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.
Feb 09, 2014 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
Dec 25, 2015 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
Ginny Messina
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: liw, food
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.

Tara Schaafsma
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
This book! Oh, this book! Five Stars is such an insult to it! As someone who practically grew up devouring the Little House books, it was always a source of curiosity and fascination to me as to exactly what the Ingalls and Wilder families devoured. And it's all here in this wonderful book, nearly every single food or recipe that even had only a passing mention in the entire set. Everything from the vanity cakes that Ma made for the country party in On the Banks of Plum Creek to the Ice cream th ...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
Apr 01, 2008 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
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
We have had this one for years, ever since my boys and I were reading the Little House books aloud together. Reading it again brought back fond memories of making the “Pulled Candy” from Farmer Boy with Eric for a 4th grade book report. In the story, the candy pull was less-than-successful, but ours turned out pretty good and made us appreciate modern candy. This book is a delight to read, with excerpts from Wilder books, accurate historical information about frontier cooking ingredients and met ...more
Oct 02, 2014 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
Celeste Ng
Jun 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: foodies, wannabe pioneers
Shelves: cooking
Each recipe in this cookbook is drawn from a passage in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books and includes historical commentary. Yum.
Sarah Rose
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
very fascinating to read but full of many things I definitely do Not want to eat! there are a few recipes I was intrigued enough by to contemplate making one day in future, but mostly I just thoroughly enjoyed the way foods from Laura’s novels translated into more modern terms. I’ve only read the first of Laura’s books, and I’m glad I read this before the rest, as I feel I’ll have a much greater understanding of them now!
Ayesha Iqbal
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Of course this is a reference book so you will never really finish the book( by what I mean finish is trying all the recipes) but it also has great information on how food was prepared and what they had. But also sense I am interested in Indigenous foods in my area, and foraging, I’m sure that these foods mentions are only a few of what the Ingalls had really eaten.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was fun to read alongside the Little House series. The author did a great job of finding/creating recipes the modern cook can follow. Lots of historical details about food in the late 19th century.
Jan 24, 2008 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
Dec 25, 2009 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
Nov 30, 2010 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
May 29, 2016 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
While this book is geared for younger people it's still a great read, especially for those that simply want the closest recipe to what our ancestors ate that is fairly easily made using today's ingredients and safety measures. I think it's great that she explains how to do some of the recipes using what is readily available to the majority of us for recipes that might be a little more difficult for us to make the same way Laura and her family did. (Salt rising bread is the one that comes to mind ...more
Sep 04, 2008 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
Jun 24, 2015 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
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was so excited to learn that I wasn't the only one that wanted to try all the meals that were talked about in the "Little House on the Prarie" books. I have tried quite a few recipes already and I appreciate the authenticity rather than trying to adapt too much to our modern society. There is actually quite a bit of reading that goes along with the recipes that explain foods in those times. I have found this book very fun and a great piece of history.
Nov 05, 2014 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. :-)
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