What fun it was reading all of the Cook the Books posts for our August/September selection, Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (The announcement post is here) For some it was a reread of a childhood classic and for others, it was the first time--but everyone who joined in found some delicious inspiration.
Here are the mouth-watering submissions for Farmer Boy. Like Almanzo, we definitely loved our apples this round! Each post links back to the individual blog and to the Farmer Boy inspired dish, so if you haven't had a chance to see all of the entries, please stop by the posts to see each person's thoughts on the book and more about their recipes.
Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla said, "I certainly don't remember there being so much food in these books. But
Almanzo was constantly hungry. And his mother was constantly feeding
him! "It takes a great
deal to feed a growing boy," Mother said." Camilla made Sweet Mellow Baked Beans with bacon, coffee and molasses, saying, "the dish that inspired me was baked beans. Almanzo ate the sweet, mellow baked beans. He ate the bit of salt pork that melted like cream in his mouth..."
Terri of Our Good Life said, "When I learned that we would be reading and cooking from Farmer Boy, by
Laura Ingalls Wilder, I was so excited. I literally have read this book
hundreds of times. Although many might say this is their least favorite
of the Little House books, it is most definitely my favorite. ... Terri found her inspiration in the Wilder siblings making ice cream in the ice house and made her modern version of Dairy Free Homemade Ice Cream.
Claudia of Honey From Rock enjoyed reading the book saying, "Talk about going back to the land. We have come so far from that sort of life. Refreshing to read about." Claudia found plenty of inspiration, "So many good things were mentioned, among which was Bird's Nest Pudding,
something I'd never heard of, even though it is an old time American
dish. Also called Crow's Nest Pudding, it featured in an early White
House cookbook, as well as the Little House Cookbook, and was served
variously with sweetened cream, a tart sauce or maple sugar."
Debra of Eliot's Eats said. "I was amazed (amazed, I tell you) as to the amount of food in the book. It seems like Almanzo’s memories and recollections (from which his wife
based this novel) always revolved around food." Debra found her inspiration in one of Almanzo's favorites, "Almanzo said that what he liked most in the world was fried apples ’n’
onions." About her own Apples 'n' Onions, Debra said, "This was a very delectable dish, in between a savory side and a dessert.
In fact, The Hubs had two servings for dinner. I am now thinking of a
onion-apple pie and a Thanksgiving dish with a bit of bacon. Wouldn’t
that be crazy delicious?"
Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm listened to the audio book for her reread saying, "I listened to this book way back in July, while floating in the pool
with my sister in law, Mary. She enjoyed the book as much as I and we
would turn it off and discuss different aspects of the story as they
came up." Wendy was inspired by the description of Almanzo's mother's Apple Turnovers. She said, "Tender spiced apples enfolded in a flaky, golden crust made for perfect
little turnovers that I'm sure Almanzo would be drooling over."
Lynda of Reviews, Chews & How-Tos found that "There is certainly no shortage of food inspiration in Farmer Boy! It is
basically an homage to abundant food (and hard work, and the joys of
farming - but mostly food and vast quantities of it)." Lynda found inspiration in Almanzo's favorite Apples 'n' Onions, and made it part of a tasty dinner saying, "For our table, I served it along with Pork Tenderloin (they would have
had pork, although I don't know that tenderloin was a cut used at the
time - chops or a small roast would also work here), and I added
potatoes to the saute, mainly because I had a few potatoes that needed
to be used."
This was a first time read of the book and author for Simona of Briciole, "It was an interesting read, giving me a
glimpse into some of the literature people my age were exposed to during
their childhood and a view into rural life and related activities in an
age and place quite removed from mine." Simona found inspiration for her Apple Tart in the book's message of not wasting food, in apples and in pie saying "Almanzo likes all pies. I have nice
memories of the first apple pie I tasted, during my first stay in the
UK, homemade by my landlady with apples from her garden. Being Italian,
my preference goes to crostata, the traditional Italian tart."
Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures found Farmer Boy "in addition to being
a wonderful book to share with my kids (I loved the Little house book when I
was little), it is also packed full of foodie inspiration – and so so much of
it revolves around apples! I love
it!" Amy made Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal saying, "In the book, Almanzo’s mother often serves apples (I still
want to try my hand at Bird’s Nest Pudding) and oatmeal every day at breakfast
for her hard-working family. So I made this healthy baked oatmeal (with a drizzle of
homemade caramel sauce if you please) that would be sure to hold over even
hard-working farm children!"
Finally at Kahakai Kitchen, I too jumped onto the apple bushel and took inspiration from the fruit, as well as all of the jams and preserves Almanzo's family put up (and really, I was just too lazy to make a pie!), making a really yummy Caramel-Apple Jam. I served the jam on fresh sourdough bread, spread with good butter, along with slices of Tillamook cheddar cheese. It was like the illusion of eating apple pie and cheese like Almanzo--but without having to bake. ;-) I really enjoyed rereading Farmer Boy (especially doing it with my CTB friends) and confirming just how much delicious food was in it.
Mahalo to everyone who joined in this round! I believe that I have included all of the submissions that I received by email or by comments on the announcement post, but if I missed anyone--please do let me know.
If you love food, books, and foodie books, please do join us for October/November when we will be The Patriarch by Martin Walker, a France-set foodie mystery, hosted by Claudia of Honey From Rock.
Deb, Kahakai Kitchen