a taste of melissa gilbert’s my prairie cookbook (soup + rice pudding!)

These days, I’m all about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been enjoying Pamela Smith Hill’s online course, which compares Wilder’s Little House books with her soon-to-be published autobiography Pioneer Girl, and I must say all that talk of traveling to and from Walnut Grove in a covered wagon has made me hungry for some down home country food.

That’s why I was especially happy to see Melissa Gilbert’s recently released My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2014). I’m a longtime fan of the “Little House on the Prairie” TV series and always picture Melissa whenever Laura’s name is mentioned. Can you believe it’s been exactly 40 years since the series first aired on NBC?

My Prairie Cookbook is a must-have for Little House fans. In this scrapbook-cookbook, Melissa shares nearly 80 recipes and lots of wonderful behind-the-scenes photos, memorabilia, and personal recollections. She answers frequently asked questions from fans, lists her top ten favorite LH episodes, comments on LH bloopers and goofs, and writes so lovingly about Michael Landon, whom she considered to be her second “Pa” ( her own father died when she was just 11).

For those of us who’ve watched the series for many years, that image of a freckle-faced, somewhat fearless minx in pigtails and calico is so firmly entrenched in our minds that we might not realize that in real life Melissa raised four boys and liked nothing better than cooking lots of soul-nourishing comfort food for her family and friends.

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SOUP’S ON: Sidney Greenbush in the Kitchen Interview!

Sidney Greenbush (2009)

 For eight seasons, when they were 3 to 11 years of age, Sidney Greenbush and her identical twin sister, Lindsay, played the part of Carrie Ingalls on the beloved TV series, “Little House on the Prairie.” I’ve been a big fan of the show ever since the two-hour pilot first aired in March 1974.

Never in a million years, not for a single second, could I ever have imagined that one day I would have the opportunity to interview one of the show’s stars on my children’s book blog. I had guessed before that Carrie was played by twins, even though the role was credited to “Lindsay Sidney Greenbush.” What I didn’t know was that my nephews, Ian and Greg (also twins), had attended the same high school as the Greenbush twins.

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an eye on carrie

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Little House episodes in preparation for my interview with Sidney Greenbush. Though I’ve seen most of them before, this time around I’ve been keeping a careful eye on Carrie. There are a lot of charming scenes of her at the table, or mimicking grown-ups. And have you ever noticed the twins’ big, beautiful blue eyes?

I’m having fun trying to see if I can tell the twins apart. As they got a little older, Sidney is recognizable by a space between her front teeth. Their facial expressions are a little different, too. Lindsay’s face is longer, more angular, Sidney’s rounder and fuller.

I watched an interview with Alison Arngrim (who played Nellie Oleson) last night. Like me, she always wondered why Carrie was treated as "Baby Carrie," even when she was 10 or 11. She definitely should have gotten more speaking parts as one of Laura’s siblings, and more storylines written for her.

Thought you might like to watch the beginning of the only episode that features both twins, "The Godsister." Apparently, this is the only time they argued over who would play which scenes. Both wanted to be Elissa, Carrie’s imaginary friend, so in the end, they shared both roles. "The Godsister" is Sidney’s favorite episode. I’m embedding Part One, so you can see her famous opening sequence, and Part Two, which shows Carrie meeting Elissa for the first time. The rest of the episode is on YouTube (7 parts total).

calling all Little House fans!

       Marin and Debbie.

A really really cool thing happened recently.

See my great-niece, Marin, up there? She just turned six and received this lovable doll, "Debbie," for her birthday. But Debbie isn’t just any doll. Debbie has a very interesting history. Here’s the scoop:

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