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10 Recipes Inspired by Little Women

Regardless of whether you prefer the book or one of the film adaptations, you know that food plays an important role in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

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Blancmange is a classic pudding-like dessert that is typically made in a mold. In the book, it’s a treat that Meg makes for Laurie when he’s sick, as it’s said to be good for a sore throat.
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The Marches love bread! Whether they’re breakfasting on toast or snacking on a slice with butter (or burning the occasional loaf by accident—Jo certainly could’ve used this thorough bread-baking guide), it’s truly a staple.
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Housekeeper Hannah was always looking out for the March girls, making turnovers for them to eat as they walked to school or work. The pastries doubled as hand-warmers—the girls even called them their “muffs.”
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Beef Tea

This healthful elixir was something akin to beef broth, consumed to soothe and nourish anyone feeling under the weather. Go one step further and learn how to make your own bone broth.
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Ice Cream

Pink ice cream was part of an elaborate Christmas spread given to the Marches by Mr. Laurence. Such treats would have been quite the welcome surprise, especially during the 1860s. The usual fare during the Civil War was much simpler.
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Buckwheat Cakes

Buckwheat cakes are referred to multiple times throughout the book. The griddled cakes the Marches munched on were much more dense and hearty than the pancakes we expect at our local diner these days. You can skip the diner breakfast and make your own pancakes from scratch (buckwheat flour optional).
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There are several references to gingerbread in the book, and the Marches and their friends surely enjoyed both the cake and cookie versions. They liked molasses candies, too.
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Plum Pudding

Like many families of the time, the Marches enjoyed traditional plum pudding with their Christmas meal; like any good pudding, it “melted in one’s mouth.” Learn everything you wanted to know about Christmas puddings.
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In addition to old-fashioned chocolate drop candies, the ladies of Little Women occasionally treated themselves to bonbons (which sometimes included mottoes, that is, a joke or a piece of trivia). After all, good things often come in small packages.
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Along with coffee and tea, lemonade was a go-to beverage for the March family, and you can be sure it was made from scratch.

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.