"Then Laura gathered up all the paper wrappings, and she helped Ma set on the table the big platter of golden, fried mush, a plate of hot biscuits, a dish of fried potatoes, a bowl of codfish gravy and a glass dish full of dried-apple sauce." (By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura Ingalls Wilder) This recipe uses fresh apples instead of dried, but we think Laura would have liked this on her biscuits.
"Caroline (who later became known as "Ma") waited impatiently, trying hard not to look at the tall, steaming stack of hotcakes. The very last thing Mother put on the table was the sugar syrup. Now they all sat down." (Little House in Brookfield, Laura Ingalls Wilder)
5 of 16Photo: Randy Mayor; Stylist: Leigh Anne Ross
Crisp Mashed Potato Cakes
Just the thought of Ma cooking these savory little cakes up in the cast-iron skillet should make your mouth water. It's doubtful that Ma used panko breadcrumbs, but you'll be happy with the modernization as it makes the cakes nice and crispy.
7 of 16Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey
Pecan Sugared Bacon
One of the best things about being a pioneer on the prairie must have been the smell of bacon frying in a pan over the fire. However, the Ingalls family might not have had the luxury of coating the bacon in sugar and pecans.
Since corn was a common food for the pioneers, corn bread (also known as corn pone or hoecake) was popular, and it was usually cooked in a Dutch oven covered with coals. We've opted for cooking it in the oven in a cast-iron skillet.
Parsnips, along with carrots, turnips, beans, onions, and squash were grown in the gardens of most pioneer families, and the most common way to cook these veggies was frying. These fried parsnips are like the pioneer version of French fries.
Pioneer chicken pies were most likely cooked in a Dutch oven over hot coals, and the women would have used whatever vegetables they happen to have in the garden at the time. A pot pie would have been the perfect dish to serve if Reverend Alden came for Sunday dinner.
If the coconut makes these cookies a little too dressy and prissy, even for Nellie, then try this more basic recipe for Nellie Oleson's Prairie Haystacks: Microwave 1 cup butterscotch chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter on 50 percent power for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once. Add 1/2 cup peanuts and 2 cups chow mein noodles and stir until the noodles are coated. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper.
"Laura kept popping corn and Ma made it into balls until the large dishpan was heaped with their sweet crispness." (These Happy Golden Years, Laura Ingalls Wilder) These bite-size popcorn balls are just the right size for "Half-Pint", Mary, and little sister Carrie.
"Cornmeal pudding with molasses was Papa's very favorite of all the new foods he had learned to eat since he had come to America fifteen years ago" (Little House By Boston Bay, Laura Ingalls Wilder) True Little House fans will know that "Papa" is the father of Charlotte, who would become Laura Ingalls Wilder's grandmother and the first girl in her family to travel west.