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Old 03-02-2013, 09:42 PM posted to
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Default Happy (late) 85th, Barbara M. Walker! ("Little House Cookbook")

According to one source, she was born in January, but I've never found an exact date.

She lives near Ossining, New York, north of NYC. She also created the 1985 "The Little House Diary."

From elsewhe

"Barbara Walker discovered the "Little House" series when her daughter, Anna, was four and fond of serial stories and kitchen craft. What began as pleasant diversion - recreating frontier food - became serious study for the author after a family trip west by way of some Little House sites. Eight years of intermittent reading, writing, and testing produced The Little House Cookbook........She regrets the disappearance of lard piecrust, hard cheese, and sausage from her diet but finds solace in making bread from her original sourdough starter."

There are 27 reviews at Amazon.

Quotes from the book:

"Food also looms large in this pioneer chronicle because there was rarely enough of it. Though she tells of being listless and weak from near-starvation during the Long Winter, the storybook Laura never complains of hunger. Yet the real grownup Laura's memory for daily fare and holiday feasts says more about her eagerness for meals, her longing for enough to eat, more than it does about her interest in cooking. "Farmer Boy" is not merely her husband's story; it is her own fantasy of blissful youth, surrounded on all sides by food." (p. 4)

(From "Farmer Boy": Mother sliced the hot rye 'n' injun bread on the bread-board by her plate. Father's spoon cut deep into the chicken-pie; he scooped out big pieces of thick crust and turned up their fluffy yellow under-sides on the plate. He poured gravy over them; he dipped up big pieces of tender chicken, dark meat and white meat sliding from the bones. He added a mound of baked beans and topped it with a quivering slice of fat pork. At the edge of the plate he piled dark-red beet pickles. And he handed the plate to Almanzo. Silently Almanzo ate it all. Then he ate a piece of pumpkin pie, and he felt very full inside. But he ate a piece of apple pie with cheese.)

"If this seems heavy with starches and sweets, remember that it was served to a family accustomed to hard physical labor and unaccustomed to centrally-heated houses. And that it was described by an author who ate far more cornmeal, lean game and wild fruits as a child than breads, fats, and desserts.."

For those who like the taste of ginger beer, here's something similar from pages 185-186.

Stir till dissolved:

1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 cup cider vinegar


I quart cold water. (I prefer seltzer for this.)

According to Ma, gulping plain cold water when you're hot and thirsty might make you sick, but this won't.


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Old 03-02-2013, 09:58 PM posted to
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Default Happy (late) 85th, Barbara M. Walker! ("Little House Cookbook")

I still reread all the Little House books. I love them. Food --
growing, hunting, fishing, foraging, harvesting, preserving, and
preparing -- is so prevalent in the stories. The cookbook is a fun
read. I never did try to cook from it, but I appreciate attempts to cook
and share Little House dishes in a modern kitchen.

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Old 10-02-2013, 07:58 PM posted to
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Default Happy (late) 85th, Barbara M. Walker! ("Little House Cookbook")

I've tried nine recipes from the book over the years, plus maybe three more (so long ago that I can't be sure).

My favorites are the codfish balls, the bird's-nest pudding, and the Green Pumpkin Pie. (Depending on where you live, you may be out of luck if you try to find a green pumpkin later than mid-October. I also don't know whether it should be ALL green or not - at any rate, it should weigh at least four pounds.) I like it because it tastes like spicy apple. Maybe that's just the cider vinegar that goes with it.

About the buckwheat pancakes: The recipe calls for two cups buckwheat flour and one cup wholewheat. However, based on painful experience, I'd say that if you've never tasted buckwheat before, chances are you'll want to substitute white flour for at least half the buckwheat!

Re bird's-nest pudding: How does anyone core an apple without making a hole ALL the way down? I don't want the brown sugar to run out.

Apples'n'onions - well, it was OK.

Eggnog - it needed to be thicker, IIRC.

Wedding cake: Maybe I just didn't have good luck the only time I tried it, years ago, but I just don't understand the idea of trying to combine 10 stiffly beaten egg whites with a whole cup of butter! (It was a pretty heavy cake and unappealing - not like pound cake.)

Popcorn balls - OK.

I'd like to try making the vinegar pie and the blueberry pudding. (That one I may have tried already, 20 years ago?)


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