Had she not been subject to the laws of nature and/or had she formed some sort of otherworldly arrangement, Laura Ingalls Wilder would be 147 years old today. I celebrated this fact by revisiting Little House on the Prairie for the first time since grade school and hooooooooo boy it is a different reading experience now, huh? I get that it is beloved, and there are a lot of things that are belovable about it, such as how very happy Laura is about her new tin cup for Christmas. I mean, that's solid gold, for sure. I'm wondering, though, if my nostalgia for the series might actually be more centered on Little House in the Big Woods? Did that one have a lot more fascinating old-timiness and a lot less super uncomfortable stuff about Indians? Yeah, maybe that's the one I was thinking of then.
I think the main problem is that when I first read these books, I was Laura (obviously) and it is pretty fun to be Laura. That is some crazy and exciting stuff for a little girl! What a big hero of a daddy she has! And reading them now, of course, I am Ma. It is so, so much less enjoyable to be Ma. What a difficult and thankless existence! What a seemingly insane person she is married to! I hope that while Laura was sleeping, Ma did a lot more complaining!
Anyway. The real reason I revisited LHOTP is that The Book Lover's Cookbook instructed me to do so in order that I may enjoy some Bean Salad.
First of all, this was a perfectly fine, if slightly on the sweet side, bean salad. But I'm starting to sense a trend in this cookbook of including excerpts that are a little bit misleading vis-à-vis how appropriate the recipe is to the actual story. TO WIT:
Every day they all looked at that garden. It was rough and grassy because it was made in the prairie sod, but all the tiny plants were growing. Little crumpled leaves of peas came up, and tiny spears of onions. The beans themselves popped out of the ground. But it was a little yellow bean stem, coiled like a spring, that pushed them up. Then the beans was cracked open and dropped by two baby bean-leaves, and the leaves unfolded flat to the sunshine.
Pretty soon they would all begin to live like kings.
Okay. First of all, pretty much the only things they ever eat in this book are rabbits, prairie hens, and various things made of cornmeal. Second, I doubt Ma would have a recipe that called for a can of garbanzo beans. Third, there is noooooooooo way they were going to put HALF A CUP OF WHITE SUGAR into a dumb bean salad when acquiring white sugar required Pa to venture forty miles to the nearest town, attempting suicide-by-pioneering-bravado all the way there and back. Not a chance. Fourth, and perhaps most galling, they never ate anything out of that garden because the next day they packed up all their stuff and left in order to avoid being kicked off THE INDIAN TERRITORY THEY WERE ILLEGALLY OCCUPYING, SORRY, SPOILER ALERT. No bean salad, is my point. The recipe for this book may as well have been petit fours.
Next on my list is Cold Mountain. Sigh. At least we're getting potato salad out of this one, guys.
Anna has just been informed that she now lives in a reality wherein one day a week sees temperatures in the 20s and everything in the city shut down due to a paralyzing and politically complicated fear of icy roads and two other days that same week will be well into the 70s and therefore short-sleeve weather. This is maybe our fourth weekly cycle of such. It is our life now. Someday I will remember the days of my girlhood wherein weeks would pass without a single 60-degree temperature swing and I will write a series of wincingly-of-their-time children's books about it.