I have always been fascinated by the pioneer time period, and I also love cookbooks featuring traditional recipes. When I was recently given this book as a gift, I knew it would be right up my alley. I dove right in and read it from cover to cover.
It's a fascinating book with surprisingly, more space dedicated to historical information than to the actual recipes. The book is divided into chapters by type of food; for example, Staples From the Country Store, Foods From the Woods, Wilds and Waters, Foods From Gardens and Orchards, and Thirst Quenchers and Treats. Each chapter begins with an essay detailing the historical information of that type of food at that time.These essays are so interesting!
Then before each recipe is a quote (mentioning the dish) from one of the books, and an explanation of how the dish would have been prepared at that time, by either Ma Ingalls or Mother Wilder. Every single recipe in the book (I think there are 100) is for a food which is mentioned in one of the books--so these recipes are truly authentic pioneer recipes, not modern interpretations of what pioneers ate.
Some recipes are there more for interest than for anything. For example, it's unlikely that I'm going to make stewed jackrabbit anytime soon...but there are many recipes here that I do want to try, especially the breads, cakes and pies.
One thing I found most remarkable about this book was the simplicity of the recipes. People in the past made food to nourish themselves--good, simple food with few ingredients. Spices and flavourings were used sparingly if at all. This is what I personally like. Today's recipes in comparison seem too fussy and fancy, with too many flavours and ingredients masking the simple flavours of the foods themselves.
A cherished addition to my cookbook collection, equally delightful and useful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is enamoured with the Little House books, even if it is read only for the historical information.