Cook With San Diego County Library: Recipes from The Little Women Cookbook

My son and I tried out recipes from The Little Women Cookbook. I picked this book because it was written by two San Diego County librarians, who are fun people, appreciate good writing and good food. Their cookbook reflects this. 

It is filled with recipes for food that was featured in Louisa May Alcott’s classic book Little Women. Even if you do not end up making any of the recipes, it is interesting to read the excerpts from the book, along with commentaries about how people in nineteenth century Massachusetts actually ate and the historic recipes that the authors used in their research.

We had a lot of fun with it.  The cookbook is divided into sections, featuring recipes based on Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Laurie, and the March family. The authors helpfully include a personality quiz to let you know which March sister you are most like. I was hoping for Jo (don’t we all?) but got Beth instead.  Disappointing, but accurate.

Since I am a Beth, I tried her squash casserole, “The History of a Squash.” It was a lot like Beth:  unpretentious, wholesome, and a joy to be around. Unlike most winter squash dishes, it came out light and airy. I had three helpings! This was easy to make and would be a terrific addition to a holiday dinner. 

We also made a couple of fun treats that I think would be easy for most people. “Gingerbread Nuts for Roars” seems like a classic gingerbread cookie recipe, but instead of rolling out the dough you shape it into cute little balls.  This was really easy, and the cookies came out great. Since they are sturdy and last well, they are a good choice if you are doing a cookie swap. My grandsons loved having these along with a glass of milk.

I got a bit ambitious and also made “Captivating Little Tarts.” They look fancy but turned out to be pretty simple, made from pie crust and jam. The pie crust recipe is a bit more complicated than some, but it came out wonderfully: flaky, buttery, and easy to shape.