Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series is a national treasure, beloved by generations. But what I love most is the peek it provides into the planting, harvesting, hunting, and preparing of the foods that America’s settler families ate in the late 1800s. There are lavish descriptions of Ma using grated carrots to dye winter cream yellow, and Laura’s husband, Almanzo, devouring birds’ nest pudding (a baked apple dessert). Accounts of eating Christmas sweet potatoes baked in ashes and jackrabbit stewed with white flour dumplings are testaments to pioneer resilience and pleasure—and they help inspire my own best scratch cooking.
Check out some of our favorite food scenes from the Little House on the Prairie television series:
• The dinner scene in “A Christmas They Never Forgot”»
• Apple fritters in “Town Party, Country Party”»
• Picnic in “Money Crop”»
• Supper on “new” china in “For My Lady”»
• Honey collecting in “Mary Ingalls”»