mud, moss, and marigolds

      by Marjorie Winslow, pictures by Erik Blegvad (Walker, 2001), 
                                ages 8 and up, 48 pp.

Perfect Recipe for a Summer Afternoon:

Happy children, or you
Dolls, bears, other stuffed animals and toys
Leaves, twigs, sand, pine needles, mud, etc.
Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls
All the time in the world

I first saw this cookbook over 30 years ago. I was thrilled to find it, but disappointed that I wasn’t 8 or 9 at the time. It’s charming, a bit quirky, wholly original, and definitely timeless.

       Pudding with First Pebble Press edition, published in 1983

Very often when I am feeling stuck with my own writing, I’ll thumb through this book. It wakes me up to new possibilities and turns my stilted, rutty thinking inside out. We all need this from time to time.

From the foreword:

This is a cookbook for dolls. It is written for kind climates and summertime.

It is an outdoor cookbook, because dolls dote on mud, when properly prepared. They love the crunch of pine needles and the sweet feel of seaweed on the tongue. The market place, then, will be a forest or a sand dune or your own back yard.

There are recipes for Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Main Dishes, Pastries, Desserts, and Beverages — tempting favorites such as Wood Chip Dip, Tossed Leaves, Gravel En Casserole, and Pencil Sharpener Pudding. This is serious play, and children will love scavenging for ingredients and laying out a fine table for their favorite toys. The recipes are simple but never silly.

Consider Mud Puddle Soup:

Find a mud puddle after a rainstorm and seat your dolls around it. Serve.

Or Putty Fours:

If plumbers or painters are working in your neighborhood, ask them for some putty — enough to fill four acorn cups. These delicate cakes may take days to harden, so plan your party well ahead. Serves 4.

Who could resist Fried Water or Roast Rocks? And Erik Blegvad’s pen and ink drawings throughout are the perfect sides for these doll friendly dishes.

Yesterday, Pudding and I made Boiled Buttons in the alphabet soup test kitchen. We were thrilled with the result, and will serve it at our next teddy bear soiree.


This is a hot soup that is simple but simply delicious. Place a handful of buttons in a saucepan half filled with water. Add a pinch of white sand and dust, 2 fruit tree leaves and a blade of grass for each button. Simmer on a hot rock for a few minutes to bring out the flavor. Ladle into bowls.
                                  Get out there and play!

Stroll on over to Anastasia Suen’s Picture Book of the Day for today’s Nonfiction Roundup.

9 thoughts on “mud, moss, and marigolds

  1. Playing in the dirt or the mud…
    …in our garden, I can sometimes find buttons but usually rusted metals parts and old broken china.
    Shoulda made soup!


  2. I was a lucky girl to have found this on a neighbor’s bookshelf when I was a girl. I loved it then, and was so happy when Walker reprinted it. I had wondered if I’d imagined it. It’s cool you turn to it for inspiration. I will have to reread.


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