THE LITTLE HOUSE COOKBOOK: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories by Barbara M. Walker

THE LITTLE HOUSE COOKBOOK: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories

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Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's copious references to frontier food and her family's enjoyment of it, and bolstered by considerable research, Walker has come up with over 100 recipes that will allow Wilder's readers to share some of her enthusiastically remembered experiences. True, ""we can only guess at"" what a pig of that time tasted like; ""there isn't a vegetable grown by the Ingalls that hasn't been changed in the years since by scientific breeding""; and ""[you can't] expect your custard to be yellow like Eliza Jane's unless your cream came from grain-fed Guernseys and your eggs from scratch-fed chickens."" But Walker's recipes are faithful to the old procedures, and where departures are necessary they are noted and explained. All recipes come accompanied by quotes from Wilder, and Walker adds much historical information on how things were done at the time and how they have changed in the meantime. (At one point, she corrects Wilder's memory of the color of goose breast meat.) Walker acknowledges that many of the recipes are of more historical than culinary interest--on ""Long Winter Bread,"" ""You are not likely to find this heavy, coarse loaf as satisfying as Laura did--unless you eat nothing else during the day, help to grind the grain, and share it with five hungry people in a room where a bottle of ink might freeze""--and indeed much of this makes better reading than eating today. Still there are enough treats, pies, preserves, and so on to please spoiled palates, and even some of the plainer or more laborious dishes will probably be savored as links with life in the Little House. A true labor of love and careful study.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row