Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Laura's Kitchen - fail

I've been looking forward to getting the chance to share some recipes from my favorite LIW cookbooks.

I became interested in the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was a kid but when the TV show Little House on the Prairie hit the airwaves that interest soared to a whole new level. Even though the TV show quickly moved away from the book storylines, I loved the show and watched every single week. My Laura stepped out of the books right onto my TV screen and I couldn't get enough of it. Many other people must have felt the same way because suddenly there were all sorts of new books about Laura in the bookstore, from the first biography to a wonderful, well-researched cookbook by Barbara Walker. My first edition of that cookbook has been one of my favorites for years and I was thrilled to meet Barbara Walker a few years ago and get it autographed. It's still in print, you can buy your copy here.

As a teen, I spent countless hours making recipes from the cookbook such as bread, strawberry jam, , pies, fried chicken and even  Laura's "wedding' cake which required an obnoxious amount of whipping egg whites by hand. I was fascinated by the idea of cooking like a pioneer using no electrical appliances (except for the and dad wouldn't let me have a wood stove), doing everything by hand.  There are food stains on many of the pages, it was a well-loved cookbook for many years. Eventually I moved on to other forms of cooking and the LH cookbook spent more time on the shelf.

It's been fun to rediscover this cookbook after several years. This time I wanted to try a completely new, never before attempted recipe.

Maybe that was my first mistake.

The recipe seemed so easy - mix milk with buttermilk and let it sit on the counter until it goes bad. Heck, I've done that hundreds of times in my refrigerator!

Then, after it's "clabbered" (that's a funny word, I like saying it) you heat it up in a double boiler.

You're supposed to heat it up gradually (without letting the water boil) until it begins to form curds (that's almost as fun a word as clabbered) at which time you will have achieved cottage cheese.

I heated it up and waited...and waited...and waited.

I'm pretty sure Ma Ingalls is up in heaven shaking her head right now at the ignorance of this modern age but after 2 1/2 hours of cooking, my "cottage cheese" still looked like the above picture, not a curd in sight. I don't know what happened, well, actually nothing happened. I made a whole lot of sour milk and nothing else. If I was a pioneer, my little family would have gone hungry that night. Big ol' pioneer fail.

There are tons of cottage cheese recipes on the internet that are different from the one in my Little House cookbook. I will try one of those and report back. I'm determined to make my own cottage cheese even if I have to do things that Ma would never do.


  1. Oh, I'm sorry your cottage cheese didn't work out but hopefully your second attempt works!

    I lived in Canada for 6 years when I was growing up and there was a place called Black Creek Pioneer Village. It was one of my favorite places to visit! Everyone wore authentic pioneer clothing and it was a working favorite part was going in the little houses and watching the pioneer women cook and bake! They did it exactly as it had been done back then. They also had a general store that had old fashioned candy:)

  2. Did you use whole milk? Or maybe even raw milk? I'm sure that would make a difference.


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