In the late 1800s based Little House on The Prairie, the Ingalls family relied on their own resources for food. The 20th-century cast, however, did not. While the show had characters eating lots and lots of rabbit stew, the cast was actually eating Dinty Moore brand beef stew.
Any dinner scene featuring generic meat and some sort of gravy? Yeah, that was likely beef stew. The chicken drumsticks Laura ate at school weren’t just regular chicken, they were actually KFC. Any sweets were likely pie bought from the grocery store or Pillsbury biscuits.
Melissa Gilbert has a Cookbook that References ‘Little House on the Prairie”
Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, is now a bit of a foodie herself. She even came out with a cookbook, My Prairie Cookbook, in 2014.
Gilbert loved fried chicken in real life. She talked to parade about her love for the food. “I’m a fried chicken fanatic. That’s the one thing everybody wants. All my friends ask for the recipe, so I know I’ve finally perfected it.”
“I was always the first one eating the extra food. I would just gorge myself!” she told Parade of her time on the Little House on the Prairie set.
When Dr. Baker offered Laura Ingalls a gumdrop during an episode, Gilbert got to eat multiple because they needed multiple takes. “Since I wasn’t allowed any sugar at home, getting a piece of candy was like being handed an Oscar, and I savored every bite of that magnificent candy,” she said in her memoir, Prairie Tales.
Unfortunately, Gilbert was put on a very strict diet as a child. “My mother didn’t permit candy, cookies, or anything else with sugar in the house,” Gilbert wrote,“No Twinkies, none of the good stuff I found in my friend Collette’s house. She lived up the street, and I’d go up to her house, grab a handful of candy, and sneak it back home and into my room.”
Gilbert’s Love of Sweets On Set Tied to Difficult Childhood
On top of the diet, Gilbert said in her memoir that her Mother was incredibly strict and controlling and that she struggled a lot at home. For her, being on the set of Little House on the Prairie gave her time to be a kid, even if she was technically on the clock.
My Prairie Cookbook goes a far different direction from the memoir. The book features 80 mouth-watering recipes. Not only does the book offer recipes, but recollections of Gilbert’s time on the Little House on the Prairie set.
Thankfully, the kids didn’t actually have to consume the 1800s food the characters ate on the show. Though, it is funny to notice that the chicken Laura Ingalls eats is just plain old KFC.