Reviewed by Kristin
Whether you’re craving a dose of nostalgia or a helping of comfort food, My Prairie Cookbook by Melissa Gilbert is the book for you. Gilbert has interspersed snippets of her life on “Little House on the Prairie” with homey and reasonably easy to prepare recipes. Believe me, if it’s going to take 17 ingredients and 3 hours to make, I’m probably not going to make it. These recipes are simple enough that I may put on an apron and try a few.
The “Little House” pictures in the book took me right back to the late 70’s. Of course I do mean the 1970’s, although the show was set in the 1870’s and 1880’s. Every girl in my class must have had a prairie skirt and sat glued to the television when that familiar music started. Do you hear the opening notes in your head? I do, all these years later.
Gilbert discusses her close relationship with Michael Landon (Pa) and her enduring friendship with Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson). She describes Landon as a boss, father, and mentor to all of the crew. I was glad to read that Arngrim was a much nicer person than her Nellie character—her acting definitely had me believing that she was a horrid, spoiled brat.
Gilbert also answers frequently asked questions from her fans, aka “Bonnet Heads.” One person asked what the cast was actually eating when they sat down to dinner on camera. Surprisingly, it was often Kentucky Fried Chicken! Dinty Moore beef stew, Pillsbury biscuits and peanut butter sandwiches were among other offerings portrayed as Ma’s cooking.
The first recipe in the book caught my eye: Puffy Oven Pancakes. I think I’ll try the oven method next time we have everyone together for a family breakfast, rather than continuing to stand over the stove flipping pancakes while everyone else is eating. With four to six ingredients, (depending on toppings,) and 20 minutes in the oven, that sounds like a crowd pleaser.
From Big Ol’ Blueberry Muffins to Prairie Peach Cobbler, Gilbert has served up a collection of recipes to please a wide variety of palates. Come check out the cookbook from the new non-fiction section and be sure to look for the Little House on the Prairie DVDs as well.