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Baked Beans Recipe Inspired by Little House on the Prairie

This baked bean recipe is different from what we’re used to making, but a little molasses and bacon makes it enjoyable and a great hearty dish.

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Source: littlehouseontheprairie.com

Date Published: 2/12/2022

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“Bean Porridge Hot” – pioneergirl.com

An early clapping game, “Bean Porrge Hot” is played in the Little House books by the children as a way to keep warm and pass the time, clapping hands and legs …

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Source: www.pioneergirl.com

Date Published: 5/14/2022

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Bean porridge recipe | Eat Your Books

Save this Bean porrge recipe and more from The Little House Cookbook: Frontier … molasses; salt pork; dried navy beans; stone-ground yellow cornmeal.

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Date Published: 4/24/2022

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Hot Bean Soup and Laura Ingalls Wilder

All summer long, my family and I feasted on cold soups, especially gazpacho replete with cucumbers, peppers, onions, celery, and toasted bread …

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Source: pioneergirlproject.org

Date Published: 3/29/2022

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bean porridge hot | staying home – WordPress.com

–Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie. After years of trial and error, I have finally discovered the best way to make bean …

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Date Published: 1/30/2021

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Little House on the Prairie – BookHippie.com

We made and ate the bean porrge talked about in this book and many of the Little House books. It is, I have to say, very delicious and …

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Date Published: 3/14/2021

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Little House on the Prairie (Chapter 20) – Hoang Lan Dang

And they played Bean Porrge Hot. Facing each other, they clapped their hands together and against each other’s hands, keeping time while they …

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Date Published: 2/28/2021

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2011 – Little House Club Online

Little House on the Prairie chapter 19 “Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus” … If you wish to thicken the simple soup into bean porrge, …

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Date Published: 4/22/2021

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LAURA INGALLS WILDER: `LITTLE HOUSE’ STILL …

When it came to the Little House books, we weren’t satisfied until we made it … Bean Porrge, Fried Parsnips and Green Pumpkin Pie, …

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  • Author: lawtonroom132
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  • Date Published: Oct 12, 2011
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Baked Beans Recipe Inspired by Little House on the Prairie

“‘I’m glad I put beans to soak last night,’ said Ma. She lifted the lid of the bubbling kettle and quickly popped in a spoonful of soda. The boiling beans roared, foaming up, but did not quite run over. ‘There’s a little bit of salt pork to put in them too,’ Ma said. Now and then she spooned up a few beans and blew on them. When their skins split and curled, she drained the soda-water from the kettle and filled it again with water. She put in the bit of fat pork.”

The Long Winter

Pa said it best, “there’s nothing like good hot bean soup on a cold day.” I couldn’t agree more with Pa on that one. Nothing beats a hot cup of soup or hearty hot food on a cold winter’s day. The Ingalls used comfort food like baked beans to keep them warm and full, and we do the same thing.

One thing that goes well with baked beans, and something Ma and Laura often made with a pan of baked beans, were Johnny-Cakes.

This particular baked beans recipe is from Barbara Walker’s excellent cookbook, The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories, and is very simple and only requires a few ingredients. When I initially looked at the list of ingredients, I wasn’t sure these baked beans would be pleasant, however with the added bacon and drizzle of molasses, I discovered that it is a delicious and hearty winter dish.

Ingredients Needed for Baked Beans

3 Cups of white beans

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 pound of bacon, cut into strips

1/4 cup of molasses

1/2 cup of onions, diced

additional molasses to sweeten as needed

Directions To Make Baked Beans

Step One – Soak white beans overnight to soften them.

Step Two – In the morning, rinse the beans. (Preheat the oven to 350)

Step Three – Place the beans in a pot with clean water and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Four – Stir in the baking soda, and allow beans to simmer until they are soft. Pour off the cloudy water and cover the beans with 5 cups of fresh water and return to simmer.

Step Five – Dab a small amount of oil into a cast iron skillet (or baking pan) and line the bottom of the pan with the strips of bacon.

Step Six – Pour the beans into the cast iron skillet (or baking pan) without the water.

Step Seven – Add the onions and stir them into the skillet/baking pan with the beans.

Step Eight – Drizzle 1/4 cup of molasses over the beans.

Step Nine – Cover the beans with water, or you can use bean broth from the simmering pot.

Step Ten – Bake at 350 degrees for 4 hours. Continue to add water, so the beans don’t dry out.

Serve warm with a drizzle of molasses to sweet as desired. I did add a bit more molasses to give a sweeter taste. This baked bean recipe is different from what we’re used to making, but a little molasses and bacon makes it enjoyable and a great hearty dish.

This baked bean recipe is simple to make and will be great as a winter side dish. You could even serve it during the holidays, along with your Christmas ham and Cornbread Stuffing.

What are some of your favorite Little House on the Prairie inspired dishes? And if you give this baked bean recipe a try, leave me a comment and let me know. And for more Little House on the Prairie inspiration, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter.

“Bean Porridge Hot”

“Bean Porridge Hot”

No supper was so good as the thick bean porridge, flavored with a small bit of salt pork, that Ma dipped onto the tin plates when Pa had come home cold and tired from his hunting. -Little House on the Prairie, Chapter 20, “A Scream in the Night”

An early clapping game, “Bean Porridge Hot” is played in the Little House books by the children as a way to keep warm and pass the time, clapping hands and legs in time with the chanted rhyme, faster and faster. The quick movements were exercise, and by using different clapping sequences, the game could become quite difficult and also served as memory work. Notice that in On the Banks of Plum Creek (see Chapter 37, “The Long Blizzard”), young Carrie Ingalls merely holds up her hands for Ma to clap against; she is perhaps too young to remember what to do.

There were many variations to the rhyme: bean porridge, pease porridge, or pease pudding, although there are botanical differences between peas and beans. Pease is the mass plural of pea, meaning uncounted. You just measure them by the cupful or handful or scoop full. Any dried legume may be used, but as Caroline Ingalls typically made bean soup from white navy beans, these were probably what she used to make bean porridge, a bean soup thickened with corn meal and flavored with meat.

BEAN PORRIDGE. Take one quart of dried beans or peas and add to four gallons of water. Add two or three pounds of beef or pork, put them into an iron pot or kettle and boil them together until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Take out the meat and thicken the liquid with Indian meal, and you have porridge. — Nathaniel Bouton, The History of Concord (Concord: Benning W. Sanborn, 1856), 520.

BEAN PORRIDGE. Four pounds of beef and one of salt pork; one pint of dry white beans, four tablespoonfuls of corn meal, pepper and salt to taste. Soak the beans over night. In the morning parboil in fresh water with a pinch of soda till soft. Put the beef and pork in cold water, skim carefully, and simmer four or five hours, or until tender. Take out and cut into two-inch pieces, and remove the bone and gristle; also the fat from the liquor. Put the meat and beans into the meat liquor, and simmer very slowly three or four hours, or till most of the beans are broken. Half an hour before serving stir in the meal, first wetting it in cold water to a smooth paste. The meal should thicken the porridge to about the consistency of a thick soup. The meat should be cooked till it falls apart. Season to taste with salt and pepper. — Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1884), 287.

PEASE PORRIDGE HOT (from Mother Goose’s Melodies, 1878) (from Mother Goose’s Melodies, 1878) Pease-porridge hot

Pease-porridge cold

Pease-porridge in the pot,

Nine days old. Some like it hot,

Some like it cold,

Some like it in the pot,

Nine days old. BEAN PORRIDGE HOT

(from Little House on the Prairie) (from Little House on the Prairie) Bean porridge hot,

Bean porridge cold,

Bean porridge in the pot,

Nine days old. Some like it hot,

Some like it cold,

Some like it in the pot,

Nine days old. I like it hot,

I like it cold,

I like it in the pot,

Nine days old. CLICK HERE to listen.

Music from Mary H. Howliston’s The Child’s Song Book (New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1888), 94.

bean-porridge hot / Bean Porridge Hot (LHP 20, BPC 37)

“Bean porridge hot, bean porridge cold”

“Some like it hot, some like it cold”

bean porridge (LHP 20)

Bean porridge recipe

Where’s the full recipe – why can I only see the ingredients?

At Eat Your Books we love great recipes – and the best come from chefs, authors and bloggers who have spent time developing and testing them.

We’ve helped you locate this recipe but for the full instructions you need to go to its original source.

If the recipe is available online – click the link “View complete recipe”– if not, you do need to own the cookbook or magazine.

Hot Bean Soup and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Snow has fallen softly all day, and my thoughts have turned to keeping warm and burrowing in for the winter. My freezer is full of chopped tomatoes from my vegetable garden, stacked alongside gallons of tomato juice made according to my mother’s recipe. All summer long, my family and I feasted on cold soups, especially gazpacho replete with cucumbers, peppers, onions, celery, and toasted bread cubes. But now, as the temperature dives, my thoughts turn to hot bean soup and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Prior to the Hard Winter of 1880–1881, the Ingalls family painstakingly cut their garden plot from the tough prairie sod on their claim outside of De Smet. As we learn in Pioneer Girl, they harvested a meager amount of potatoes, which the family supplemented with milk from their cow. They moved to town for the winter so that they could acquire supplies from the local shopkeepers, who relied on the railroad to replenish their shelves. Once snow blocked the trains, food shortages began. In The Long Winter, the Ingalls family’s garden yielded a more satisfying but still scanty harvest of five sacks of potatoes, “lots of turnips,” six ripe pumpkins, nearly a bushel of beans, ten shocks of corn, and enough tomatoes to make a gallon of sweet preserves and “almost two quarts of green tomato pickle” (pp. 28–30). The stretching of this limited food supply over eight months provides a good deal of the drama both in Pioneer Girl and the novel, which one reviewer called a story “without much of a plot” but nevertheless “a good pioneer record.”1

Starting with her creation of a green pumpkin pie, readers watch Caroline Ingalls nurse her small harvest and a few store-bought staples (tea, flour, sugar, salt codfish, salt pork, canned oysters) through the Hard Winter of 1880–1881. Even during the early October blizzard, when supplies seem plentiful, Ma makes a batch of beans serve double duty as both soup for lunch and baked beans with salt pork for supper. The domestic details punctuate a cold and blustery day with warmth and coziness: “Now and then [Ma] spooned up a few beans and blew on them. When their skins split and curled, she drained the soda-water from the kettle and filled it again with hot water. . . . The cold crept in from the corners of the shanty. . . . But the steamy smell of boiling beans . . . seemed to make the air warmer. At noon Ma sliced bread and filled bowls with the hot bean broth and they all ate where they were, close to the stove” (Long Winter, pp. 39–40). As the winter deepens, bean soup becomes a distant memory as the family’s rations dwindle to a single whole wheat biscuit per person or a bowl of mush with water.

With temperatures headed into the single digits this past week, it seems that the winter of 2020–2021 has started early here in South Dakota. I think I’ll soak a batch of beans tonight.

Nancy Tystad Koupal

Nebraska Education Journal, Feb. 1941, quoted in “Copies of Reviews of ‘The Long Winter,’” Box 15, file 241, Rose Wilder Lane Papers, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, Iowa.

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bean porridge hot

by homemanager12 in healthy eating, life without gluten, recipes

And they played Bean Porridge Hot. Facing each other, they clapped their hands together and against each other’s hands, keeping time while they said,

Bean porridge hot,

Bean porridge cold,

Bean porridge in the pot,

Nine days old. …

I like it hot,

I like it cold,

I like it in the pot,

Nine days old.

That was true. No supper was so good as the thick bean porridge, flavored with a small bit of salt pork, that Ma dipped onto the tin plates when Pa had come home cold and tired from his hunting. Laura liked it hot, and she liked it cold, and it was always good as long as it lasted. But it never really lasted nine days. They ate it up before that.

–Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie

After years of trial and error, I have finally discovered the best way to make bean porridge. It’s a three-day process, and the secret is chicken bone broth.

First day:

Make and enjoy a good roast chicken dinner. Save any leftover chicken and all the bones, skin, and other chicken remains.

Second day:

Pick over the bones. Set aside usable chicken to use in some other meal (waffles and chicken gravy come to mind).

Put everything else–bones, neck, cartilage, skins–everything–in a stock pot and cover with water. Simmer all day, adding more water as needed to keep everything covered. Before bedtime, strain pot contents through colander. Save broth and chill in refrigerator overnight. Discard everything else.

Wash pot, and measure in enough dried soup beans. (This family–nine still at home–uses four cups dry beans.) Rinse beans thoroughly in cold water, drain. Add more water, and rinse and drain again. Do this until the water runs off clear. (By the way, you should do this for rice, too.) Then fill with fresh water to twice the volume of beans. Let stand, covered, on the counter overnight.

Third day:

Drain, rinse, and drain beans one more time. Stir in the gelatinous mass of chicken broth. If you don’t use as many beans as we do, save some of the broth for something else. Add water to cover. Simmer all day. By suppertime, the beans should be soft and the broth porridge-y and not watery.

That’s the basic recipe. During the bean-simmering process, you can add anything else you want: cubed ham*, crumbled bacon*, diced carrots and/or potatoes, onions, ginger, a bay leaf (remove before serving), garlic, salt, pepper, or whatever else suits your fancy.

This is even better warmed over the second day, but we rarely have bean porridge last for nine days. It gets eaten up way before then.

*Keep in mind, if you use ham or bacon, check the label on the meat if you have anyone in your house with food allergies/intolerances.

Little House on the Prairie – BookHippie.com

Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls and her family are heading to Kansas! Leaving behind their home in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, they travel by covered wagon until they find the perfect spot to build a little house on the prairie. Laura and her sister Mary love exploring the rolling hills around their new home, but the family must soon get to work, farming and hunting and gathering food for themselves and for their livestock. Just when the Ingalls family starts to settle into their new home, they find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict. Will they have to move again?

We made and ate the bean porridge talked about in this book and many of the Little House books. It is, I have to say, very delicious and filing! So far all the meals we have eaten have been good and filing. We will definitely be eating this again.

We mistakingly read this book out of order! WHOOPS! Nonetheless we will get back on track. How detailed and what a ton of history we are learning about these times and the people who lived them. Fascinating.

On to more reading!!

Peace.

Little House on the Prairie (Chapter 20)

Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder

CHAPTER 20

A SCREAM IN THE NIGHT

The days were short and gray now, the nights were very dark and cold. Clouds hung low above the little house and spread low and far over the bleak prairie. Rain fell, and sometimes snow was driven on the wind. Hard little bits of snow whirled in the air and scurried over the humped backs of miserable grasses. And next day the snow was gone.

Every day Pa went hunting and trapping. In the cozy, firelit house Mary and Laura helped Ma with the work. Then they sewed quilt-patches. They played Patty Cake with Carrie, and they played Hide the Thimble. With a piece of string and their fingers, they played Cat’s Cradle. And they played Bean Porridge Hot. Facing each other, they clapped their hands together and against each other’s hands, keeping time while they said:

“Bean porridge hot,

Bean porridge cold,

Bean porridge in the pot,

Nine days old.

“Some like it hot,

Some like it cold,

Some like it in the pot,

Nine days old.

I like it hot,

like it cold,

I like it in the pot,

Nine days old.”

That was true. No supper was so good as the thick bean porridge, flavored with a small bit of salt pork, that Ma dipped onto the tin plates when Pa had come home cold and tired from his hunting. Laura liked it hot, and she liked it cold, and it was always good as long as it lasted. But it never really lasted nine days. They ate it up before that.

All the time the wind blew, shrieking, howling, wailing, screaming, and mournfully sobbing. They were used to hearing the wind. All day they heard it, and at night in their sleep they knew it was blowing. But one night they heard such a terrible scream that they all woke up.

Pa jumped out of bed, and Ma said: “Charles! What was it? It’s a woman screaming,” Pa said. He was dressing as fast as he could.

“Sounded like it came from Scott’s.”

“Oh, what can be wrong!” Ma exclaimed.

Pa was putting on his boots. He put his foot in, and he put his fingers through the strap-ears at the top of the long boot leg. Then he gave a mighty pull, and he stamped hard on the floor, and that boot was on.

“Maybe Scott is sick,” he said, pulling on the other boot.

“You don’t suppose—?” Ma asked, low.

“No,” said Pa. “I keep telling you they won’t make any trouble. They’re perfectly quiet and peaceable down in those camps among the bluffs.”

Laura began to climb out of bed, but Ma said, “Lie down and be still, Laura.” So she lay down.

Pa put on his warm, bright plaid coat, and his fur cap, and his muffler. He lighted the candle in the lantern, took his gun, and hurried outdoors.

Before he shut the door behind him, Laura saw the night outside. It was black dark. Not one star was shining. Laura had never seen such solid darkness.

“Ma?” she said.

“What, Laura?”

“What makes it so dark?”

“It’s going to storm,” Ma answered. She pulled the latch-string in and put a stick of wood on the fire. Then she went back to bed. “Go to sleep, Mary and Laura,” she said. But Ma did not go to sleep, and neither did Mary and Laura. They lay wide awake and listened. They could not hear anything but the wind.

Mary put her head under the quilt and whispered to Laura, “I wish Pa’d come back.”

Laura nodded her head on the pillow, but she couldn’t say anything. She seemed to see Pa striding along the top of the bluff, on the path that went toward Mr. Scott’s house. Tiny bright spots of candlelight darted here and there from the holes cut in the tin lantern. The little flickering lights seemed to be lost in the black dark.

After a long time Laura whispered, “It must be ’most morning.” And Mary nodded. All that time they had been lying and listening to the wind, and Pa had not come back.

Then, high above the shrieking of the wind they heard again that terrible scream. It seemed quite close to the house. Laura screamed, too, and leaped out of bed. Mary ducked under the covers. Ma got up and began to dress in a hurry. She put another stick of wood on the fire and told Laura to go back to bed. But Laura begged so hard

that Ma said she could stay up. “Wrap yourself in the shawl,” Ma said.

They stood by the fire and listened. They couldn’t hear anything but the wind. And they could not do anything. But at least they were not lying down in bed. Suddenly fists pounded on the door and Pa shouted: “Let me in! Quick, Caroline!”

Ma opened the door and Pa slammed it quickly behind him. He was out of breath. He pushed back his cap and said: “Whew! I’m scared yet.”

“What was it, Charles?” said Ma.

“A panther,” Pa said.

He had hurried as fast as he could go to Mr. Scott’s. When he got there, the house was dark and everything was quiet. Pa went all around the house, listening, and looking with the lantern. He could not find a sign of anything wrong. So he felt like a fool, to think he had got up and dressed in the middle of the night and walked two miles, all because he heard the wind howl.

“What was it, Charles?” said Ma.

“A panther,” Pa said.

He had hurried as fast as he could go to Mr. Scott’s. When he got there, the house was dark and everything was quiet. Pa went all around the house, listening, and looking with the lantern. He could not find a sign of anything wrong. So he felt like a fool, to think he had got up and dressed in the middle of the night and walked two miles, all because he heard the wind howl.

He did not want Mr. and Mrs. Scott to know about it. So he did not wake them up. He came home as fast as he could because the wind was bitter cold. And he was hurrying along the path, where it went on the edge of the bluff, when all of a sudden he heard that scream right under his feet.

“I tell you my hair stood up till it lifted my cap,” he told Laura. “I lit out

for home like a scared rabbit.”

“Where was the panther, Pa?” she asked him.

“In a tree-top,” said Pa. “In the top of that big cottonwood that grows against the bluffs there.”

“Pa, did it come after you?” Laura asked, and he said, “I don’t know, Laura.”

“Well, you’re safe now, Charles,” said Ma.

“Yes, and I’m glad of it. This is too dark a night to be out with panthers,”

Pa said. “Now, Laura, where’s my bootjack?”

Laura brought it to him. The bootjack was a thin oak slab with a notch in one end and a cleat across the middle of it. Laura laid it on the floor with the cleat down, and the cleat lifted up the notched end. Then Pa stood on it with one foot, he put the other foot into the notch, and the notch held the boot by the heel while Pa pulled his foot out. Then he pulled off his other boot, the same way. The boots clung tightly, but they had to come off.

Laura watched him do this, and then she asked, “Would a panther carry off a little girl, Pa?”

“Yes,” said Pa. “And kill her and eat her, too. You and Mary must stay in the house till I shoot that panther. As soon as daylight comes I will take my gun and go after him.”

All the next day Pa hunted that panther. And he hunted the next day and the next day. He found the panther’s tracks, and he found the hide and bones of an antelope that the panther had eaten, but he did not find the panther anywhere. The panther went swiftly through tree-tops, where it left no tracks.

Pa said he would not stop till he killed that panther. He said, “We can’t have panthers running around in a country where there are little girls.”

But he did not kill that panther, and he did stop hunting it. One day in the woods he met an Indian. They stood in the wet, cold woods and looked at each other, and they could not talk because they did not know each other’s words. But the Indian pointed to the panther’s tracks, and he made motions with his gun to show Pa that he had killed that panther. He pointed to the tree- tops and to the ground, to show that he had shot it out of a tree. And he motioned to the sky, and west and east, to say that he had killed it the day before.

So that was all right. The panther was dead. Laura asked if a panther would carry off a little papoose and kill and eat her, too, and Pa said yes. Probably that was why the Indian had killed that panther.

LAURA INGALLS WILDER: `LITTLE HOUSE’ STILL INTRIGUES AFTER 50 YEARS

I FIRST BECAME acquainted with the Ingalls family when I was in fourth grade. Every day after lunch, Miss Neddo read to the class from what she considered the best books: “The Secret Garden,” “The White Indian Boy” and “The Little House on the Prairie.”

When it came to the Little House books, we weren’t satisfied until we made it through the whole series. Pioneer life came alive in ways that it never had before, through the eyes of little Laura Ingalls and through the activities of Pa and Ma and the others. We agonized through the long winter, when food was running low; we were saddened when Mary got sick and lost her eyesight; we imagined living in a little house cut into the side of a hill; we were proud when Laura became a teacher and happy when she married Almanzo Wilder.This year marks 50 years since the last volume in Little House series was published; and the books, which generated great interest and earned numerous literary awards when they were first published, are still as popular as ever. In fact, there is a whole network of Little House museums and Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial societies that stretch across the prairies and hills made famous in the books. A 50th anniversary party was held in DeSmet, S.D., earlier this month, and new biographies, pictorial essays and even cookbooks have been added to the Wilder collection.

When Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born in 1867 in a log cabin near Pepin, Wis., no one imagined the remarkable person she would become, says William Anderson, author of a biography published last year.

“The importance of Laura’s work as the author of the `Little House’ books is that she recorded a period of American life that historians call westward expansion,” he writes.

“Because she had lived it, she could describe life as a pioneer in a way history books could not. `I had seen the whole frontier,’ Laura wrote, `the woods, the Indian country of the great plains, the frontier town, the building of railroads in wild, unsettled country, homesteading and farms coming in to take possession. I realized that I had seen and lived it all – all the successive phases of the frontier, first the frontiersman, then the pioneer, then the farmers, and the towns.’ ”

Anderson, considered by many to be the foremost Wilder expert in the country, was drawn into the story as a third grader. “I read the books, which end with Laura and Almanzo getting married, and like many children I wondered what happened next. So I wrote to Laura’s daughter, Rose, and she put me in touch with one of the museums.”

As a young man, he visited the area where the Wilders had lived. “A lot of people who knew them were still living. And I collected a lot of rich oral history before I really knew what that was.” But it developed into a lifelong interest, expressed in numerous books and articles and even a newsletter for Wilder fans.

In 1894, Laura and Almanzo moved to Rocky Ridge Farm in the Ozarks of Missouri. This would be home for the rest of their lives. “We who live in quiet places,” she wrote, “have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thought and live our own lives.”

And it was here that Laura came to understand that “in my own life I represent a period of American history.”

The appeal of the Little House books is universal and timeless, Anderson says. They have been translated into languages all over the world and seem to be particularly popular in Japan. Busloads of Japanese tourists show up at the various museums.

“These are out-of-the-way places that are not exactly on the way to Disneyland, so you know these people are making a special effort to come here. They make a circle and visit all the sites.”

What exactly is that appeal? “First of all,” says Anderson, “it’s wonderful storytelling. And it’s approachable at all levels of readership, from children to adults, to the elderly, to historians.

“Because she lived everything, there is a real quality to the stories. A scholar in South Dakota recently went back through the newspapers of those days and found he could document all the happenings. The books provide one of our best pictures of daily life in pioneer times.”

They are still used as part of the curriculum in elementary schools, he says. And interest seems to be growing all the time. In the last 5 years, he estimates, visitors to the museum in Mansfield, Mo., have more than doubled.

Les Kelly, whose photographs grace a book called “Laura Ingalls Wilder Country,” can testify that the Little House series appeals to people of all ages.

“I missed them when I was a child; I read Kit Carson and Daniel Boone. But when my daughter, Erin, was 5, we read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. And she was determined that we should move to the prairie and live there – although we did have a major disagreement over who would clean and tend the animals.

O “Finally, as a compromise, I suggested we go to the prairie and see what it looked like.”

He so fell in love with the country and the story that he got involved with documenting it photo-graphically for both books and calendars.

He is impressed, he says, by the purity of family values that the Ingalls family espoused and lived. “The books capture a time period when families lived within the circle of light at night. It kept their families intact.” It is a phenomenon, he says, that we can learn from today.

The part of the pioneer experience that fascinated Barbara Walker the most had to do with what they ate and how food was prepared.

Walker, author of “The Little House Cookbook,” also discovered the books when she was an adult, reading them to her daughter. “I think I got caught up in the stories more than she did.” But at that time cooking was one of the things that mother and young daughter enjoyed doing together, and she thought it would be fun to try to replicate some of the foods from the books.

Through a long and lengthy process, that led to her cookbook endeavor.

“Food history has blossomed in the last decade, but back then it was all new. I tried to find out what was available and when – when baking powder came along, for example – so we could make the recipes as authentic as possible.”

Included are such old-fashioned foods as Hasty Pudding, Bean Porridge, Fried Parsnips and Green Pumpkin Pie, all with little introductions that tie them to the books.

The purpose, she said, was not to produce a cookbook with recipes for delicious food, as much as it was to help children understand the process of where food came from in those days.

“I went into it thinking that they don’t make people anymore like they made those hardy pioneers; they don’t make heroes like that nowadays. But what I discovered in the process is that people have changed very little in the last 100 years; there are still good guys and bad guys. But – and this is what I hope children learn – nothing we put in our mouths today is the same as it was. The Earth, the plants, the environment – all these are passing, changing things.”

And that same kind of feeling was one of the original motivations for Laura Ingalls Wilder. “I wanted children now to understand more about the beginnings of things,” she wrote, “to know what is behind the things they see – what it is that made America as they know it.”

The memories Laura shared were of home and hearth and a much simpler time, of, as Anderson writes, “of lives well lived, filled with courage and kindness, adventure and accomplishment. “No one, who has not pioneered, can understand the fascination of it,” she wrote. It was odd, she said, “because everything came at us out of the West . . . storms, blizzards, grasshoppers, burning hot winds and fires . . . yet it seemed that we wanted nothing so much as we wanted to keep going west!”

*****

(Recipes)

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

3 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup flour

2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey

Dumplings

In a large saucepan combine 2 1/2 cups broths, the mixed vegetables, onion, basil, garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir together remaining broth and flour. Stir into vegetable mixture. Add chicken. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

Drop dumpling batter from a tablespoon to make four dumplings atop bubbling stew. Cover, simmer for 10 to 12 minutes (do not lift cover to check) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serves 4.

Dumplings: In a medium bowl stir together 2/3 cup flour, 1 tablespoon snipped parsley, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed thyme. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup milk and 2 tablespoons cooking oil. Add to flour mixture. Stir with fork until just blended.

– Each serving contains 380 calories; 14 gm fat; 33 gm carbohydrate; 656 mg sodium; 60 mg cholesterol.

– From “Old-Fashioned Favorites from Clabber Girl”

TAFFY TAPIOCA CREAM

2 eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup packed, light brown sugar

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl beat egg yolks and salt; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, cook the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar over low heat until the mixture bubbles, about one minute, stirring constantly. Add the milk and tapioca. Cook and stir until the tapioca is clear, then remove from heat and very slowly add the egg yolks, stirring briskly. Continue cooking until mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon heavily. Remove from heat. Beat the egg whites and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar together until stiff. Fold into tapioca mixture. Let cool slightly, then fold in the vanilla. Spoon into a large serving bowl or individual dessert dishes. Chill well before serving. Makes 4 servings.

– Each serving contains 373 calories; 11 gm fat; 62 gm carbohydrate; 425 mg sodium; 131 mg cholesterol.

– From “The Pioneer Lady’s Country Kitchen”

BLUEBERRY BUCKLE

1/4 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

2 cups washed blueberries

Crumb topping, recipe below

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x9x2-inch pan. Cream butter and sugar. Blend in egg. Sift together dry ingredients and add to milk, stirring until blended. Fold in blueberries and pour into pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake for 35 minutes.

Crumb topping:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together until crumbly.

– Each serving contains 502 calories; 18 gm fat; 96 gm carbohydrate; 462 mg sodium; 78 mg cholesterol.

– From “Prairie Recipes and Kitchen Antiques”

BEA’S PEA SALAD

2 10-oz. packages of frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped red onions

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

6 slices crisp bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Sour cream to blend

Cook peas for about 4 minutes. (Do not let them get well done.) Drain and set aside to cool. When completely cool, mix peas with onions, celery and bacon and blend with sour cream. Toast the almonds for a few minutes and sprinkle on top before serving. Serve on lettuce leaves. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

– Each serving contains 133 calories; 9 gm fat; 11 gm carbohydrate; 88 mg sodium; 10 mg cholesterol.

– From “Prairie Recipes and Kitchen Antiques”

*****

Ginger Water Recipe

Now the sun and the wind were hotter and Laura’s legs quivered while she made them trample the hay. She was glad to rest for the little times between the field and the stack. She was thirsty, then she was thirstier, and then she was so thirsty that she could think of nothing else. It seemed forever till ten o’clock when Carrie came lugging the jug half-full.

Pa told Laura to drink first but not too much. Nothing was ever so good as that cool wetness going down her throat. At the taste of it she stopped in surprise and Carrie clapped her hands and cried out, laughing, “Don’t tell, Laura, don’t tell till Pa tastes it!”

Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot. Such a treat made that ordinary day into a special day, the first day that Laura helped in the haying.

The Long Winter

For 6 servings you will need:

1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2-quart jug with funnel, or other half-gallon container

Dissolve brown sugar and ginger in vinegar by shaking or stirring. Add 1 quart or cold water, mix and serve.

Butter Recipe

For both Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband, Almanzo, the regular churning of cream into butter was a vivid childhood memory. “Little House in the Big Woods” describes in detail the winter Thursdays when Ma warmed the cream in the tall crockery churn, added carrot coloring, and moved the scalded dashed in it until tiny grains of yellow butter formed. “Farmer Boy” recalls buttermaking on a grander scale – twice-a-week churnings in a rocker-mounted barrel until there were 500 pounds in butter tubs in the cellar to be sold to a New York buyer.

Even in those days, when 50 cents could buy a lace blouse or a plaid cap with ear-flaps, Ma’s butter commanded 50 cents a pound. Why? Partly because she churned twice a week before the cream soured and because she took great care with the implements, scalding before each use. Partly because she had a large cool cellar for storage. But mostly because, as the author wrote, “she washed every bit of buttermilk out of it.” Squeezing out all the liquid is the key to quality butter, and it was not easy in the days before mechanical butter “workers.”

Ma’s achievement is hard for us to appreciate in a time when science, industry and the law have made quality butter commonplace. What we now take for granted once required considerably hard work. The recipe below has been modified for those who want to make a small quantity of butter using only a canning jar. A tip: working with a partner will make it go easier and faster!

You will need:

1/2 pint heavy cream

1 pint glass jar with tight lid

1 small marble

buttermold or small bowl

wooden spoon

Pour cream into glass jar. Add marble (to aid in mixing) and screw on the lid, making sure the jar doesn’t leak. Shake the jar in a figure-eight pattern. Soon you’ll no longer hear the marble moving in the thick cream, and then butter will start to form. Keep shaking until you have separated all the butter from the buttermilk. Drain off the buttermilk (you can drink it if you like), wash the butter in cold water, and pack it down into a buttermold or bowl with wooden spoon. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

From “The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories,” by Barbara M. Walker. Illustrations by Garth Williams.

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