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The Little Women Cookbook: Novel Takes on Classic Recipes from Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Friends

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Join the March family for joyous Christmas breakfasts, lovely lunches, scrumptious desserts, and more!

You already adore the story of these four sisters who, with little means, find their own paths in a tale full of laughter, love, loss, and family. Now, experience Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel in an entirely new and delightful way―as a cookbook.

You’ll learn to make ice cream with Meg, molasses candy with Jo, baked squash with Beth, pickled limes with Amy, and so much more. For a creative twist, these delicious step-by-step recipes are adapted from vintage Civil War-era cookbooks for the modern kitchen.

A perfect gift for Little Women fans everywhere, the book is packed with beautiful color photographs, timeless illustrations, favorite passages, historical trivia, and additional commentary by the authors, founders of 36 Eggs, the literary food blog.

176 pages, Hardcover

First published October 22, 2019

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About the author

Jenne Bergstrom

2 books459 followers
I was raised by two summer camp directors but spent all my time reading instead of being outdoors. I went to a tiny one-room schoolhouse in a charming mountain town, but always dreamed of living in a glamorous big city. Nowadays, I live in a tiny tiny house in glamorous(?) San Diego, CA and run a library in a different but also charming mountain town.

My favorite adult books: The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt, Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, True Grit by Charles Portis, and anything by Judith Krantz.
My favorite kids’ books: Little Women, of course! And...The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death by Daniel Pinkwater, The BFG and Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace (but only the ones starting in high school), Victorian Cakes by Caroline B. King, the MacDonald Hall series by Gordon Korman, and all the Anne of Green Gables books.

Things I love to read about: how people did everyday things in other times and places; descriptions of fancy outfits and/or rituals and ceremonies; people working together to accomplish something; aftermaths of disasters; boarding schools (especially if magical); slow-burn romance; found families; makeovers and renovations; footnotes/diagrams/equations/codes/maps or other hidden workings of things; people with very proscribed lifestyles (nuns, astronauts, royalty); someone succeeding through clever means.

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5 stars
35 (31%)
4 stars
43 (39%)
3 stars
27 (24%)
2 stars
4 (3%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 9, 2020

Looking for a new book? Here are some of my favorite self-pub, indie and smaller author-books in my Latest Book Tube Video.
The Written Review:

5 stars all the way.

Going through old cookbooks makes you realize that food is as trendy as fashion
Authors Jenne and Miko are librarians by day and renegade chefs by night.

As longtime fans of Little Women ( by Louisa May Alcott), the authors have read (and reread) (and re-reread) this series ever since they were young.

As cooking enthusiasts, they (and many Little Women fans) have wondered -
What exactly would the March sisters have eaten?"
Well, wonder no longer!

Jenne and Miko applied their culinary creativity to translating many period appropriate recipes into modern-day delicacies - but that was no walk in the park!
Victorian cookbooks assume readers have a lot technical knowledge...That's why their directions can read like the Technical Challenge on The Great British Baking Show.
This cookbook is split into recipes that match with the characters - Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Laurie and the March Family.

I really loved how the dishes matched the characters so well.

Meg has sophisticated dishes, Jo is practical (but ambitious), Beth has homey plates and Amy is adventurous.

Many of the recipes were inspired directly from the text (like Jo's disastrous corned beef dish and lobster side salad or Amy's pickled limes).

Others were included as representations of what a typical family would eat during that time period (like the picnic lunch with Laurie).

It was SO much fun to read about all of the recipes - especially when you look at the original versions (oh my gosh. I never want to be a chef in the 1800s!).

There were quite a few gorgeous images to show what the dishes should look like - and wow. They looked good!

Each recipe was accompanied by a quote or two about when the March sisters prepared or ate the food - which was fun to read.

Though, as much as I adored the accompanying the text, I wish the quotes used were a bit shorter and for there were more pictures of the dishes instead.

All in all, I will treasure this cookbook for many years to come. I have not tried the recipes yet but I will update the review once I do!

With many, many thanks to the authors for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for emma.
1,864 reviews54.3k followers
August 16, 2021
Here is what you need to know:
- this is well-written
- this is well-researched
- this is charming AND interesting AND fun
- this made me hungry
- this contains a Which March Sister Are You quiz and it told me I'm Jo!!!!!!

For all of these reasons, especially the last one, I FIRMLY recommend this book.

Bottom line: SO good so cute so fun!


possibly the cutest and most charming thing to ever exist.

review to come / 4 stars

currently-reading updates

i am going to read this, and then i am going to be hungry, and then i am going to use it as an excuse to rewatch greta gerwig's little women, and then i am going to cry through it like i always do.

planning is so important.

tbr review

never has a book sounded so perfect to me by title alone!


challenging myself to read as many review copies as possible this month because i'm addicted to projects!

ARC 1: spaceman of bohemia
ARC 2: in search of us
ARC 3: aerialists
ARC 4: the sound of drowning
ARC 5: unleaving
ARC 6: the other side of luck
ARC 7: romanov
ARC 8: the storm keeper's island
ARC 9: gut check
ARC 10: when force meets fate
ARC 11: sisters in hate
ARC 12: before i disappear
ARC 13: big time
ARC 14: stolen science
ARC 15: have a little faith in me
ARC 16: invitation to a bonfire
ARC 17: the splendor
ARC 18: how to be luminous
ARC 19: the little women cookbook
Profile Image for Jenne.
1,086 reviews673 followers
December 13, 2019
Is it uncool to rate your own book five stars?
But I have read it like 50 times at this point and I genuinely think it's awesome, so...sorry/not sorry.
Go read it!
Make a recipe and tell us how it turned out!
Read Little Women again or for the first time!
aaaaaaa you guys we wrote a book and it's in actual bookstores and libraries!!
Profile Image for Janet.
752 reviews6 followers
November 9, 2019
I got to be an early tester on some of the recipes - they were well researched, so I knew that I was actually eating the type of food that Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy ate. And they ate well! Every recipe I tried was delicious. I'm looking forward to trying the rest of them!

Update: I just read the completed cookbook and I am really impressed. I knew the recipes were good (you should definitely try the buckwheat pancakes), but what really makes this stand out is the comments and research. The authors found out what people in Concord really would have been eating, and then translated period recipes for modern cooks. They share their explorations with the reader in an entertaining style, along with fun excerpts from Little Women, which tie the recipes to the story. All this makes this book an interesting read, even if you never make any of the recipes. (But, really, try those buckwheat pancakes. You won't regret it.)
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
3,091 reviews1,483 followers
January 24, 2020
This cookbook chronicles some of the foods mentioned in Louisa May Alcott's most famous novel. I chose this cookbook because the authors do an excellent job sharing the history and reasoning behind the recipes they chose. They include a list of works consulted including several period cookbooks and cooking manuals. Even though I have some of those cookbooks (reprints), I don't have The Young Housekeeper's Friend which was the authors' main source. Meg uses this book as a young married woman to make a happy home for her John. They also include some original period recipes for food and home remedies for illness (not recommended today). There's a conversion chart for archaic measurements so cooks can experiment with period recipes. I especially liked that, even though I have one bookmarked somewhere on my computer, that will make it easy to locate and use.

This cookbook is divided into sections by character. Each section includes a lengthy introduction with quotes and analysis of that character and why the recipes suit her. The book features illustrations from the 1896 edition (Frank T. Merrill illustrations) and many color photos of the recipes. The whole book is in glorious color in one way or another. The recipes sound easy enough for a young person to make with some help from an adult.

I don't see myself making any of the recipes though. The majority of the recipes are meat based or savory. They provide alternative suggestions for vegetarians but vegans had best stay away from 19th-century recipes as most contain animal products. I would like the "gingerbread nuts for roars" and Hannah's gingerbread, "Three Hebes' Lemonade" and a few others but I don't intend to try them because I have other similar recipes.

This book is a winner in my opinion and fully deserves a spot on my reference shelf right next to the period reproduction cookbooks and other literary cookbooks I own (The Louisa May Alcott Cookbook, Anne of Green Gables Cookbook and The Pooh Cook Book).
Profile Image for Juli Anna.
2,529 reviews
December 10, 2019
This is a stand-out among literary cookbooks. The authors did not shy away from historical research and recipes in this book, mixing authentic Victorian recipes with somewhat more updated fare. I appreciated the generous excerpts from Little Women in this cookbook, as well as the hearty information on nineteenth-century cooking. Finally, I appreciated the solid textual background for these recipes, which seem truly plucked from the novel organically. I often find that recipes in literary cookbooks can feel randomly selected or poorly conceived; this book did not fall into that trap. An excellent volume, and a perfect gift for lovers of Alcott's work.
Profile Image for Elena.
595 reviews6 followers
November 22, 2019
A delightful companion to the beloved classic, especially for an adventurous cook. Filled with recipes mentioned in the book as well as others that were popular during the Civil War era. But even more interesting were the culinary historical morsels of information (such as the different measurements they used: a “lump” and/or “butter the size of a walnut” = 2 tablespoon, “gill”=1/2 cup, teacup= 3/4 cup while a wineglass = 1/4 cup, tincup= 1 cup and a tumblerful= 2 cups) and the various cooking methods used back then. The passages from the book that matched each recipe were paired together to give more context. Understandably, the recipes were quite involved even though they were updated to modern measurements and equipment. I’m not the best cook so they seemed far above my expertise, nor am I patient enough for some of the recipes requiring weeks of waiting (such Amy’s infamous pickled limes) so I didn’t end up using any recipes for our most recent book club that I hosted where we discussed Little Women). But it was still a fun experience that enriched my most recent re-reading of Little Women.
Profile Image for Tan.
231 reviews20 followers
May 5, 2020
What a charming book.

Perfectly chosen excerpts, endearing little asides about what modern Amy, Jo, Beth and Meg might do (can’t you imagine Jo sending hilarious snaps of her failures to friends?), and a good spread of Victorian recipes, from easy (coffee flavoured with egg!) to difficult (French cooking and Amy’s lobster salad); from dessert to lunch. The recipes are named after ones from the book and have been adapted so that a modern reader will be able to follow them.

I read this to fill the ‘book that brings you joy’ prompt for the Reading Women Challenge, and it’s clear that the authors love the book. It brought me a lot of joy to read it, and given the care that has gone into research and recipe selection/modernisation, they are obviously overjoyed at this project.

As someone who is a total beginner cook and extremely intimidated by cooking (don’t ask), I might try my hand at some of these and see how they turn out. After all, it can’t possibly be worse than Jo’s half-cooked potatoes, soured cream and salty strawberries. Maybe knowing some of my favourite fictional characters might have cooked these dishes will lend some spice to the whole endeavour, even if the dish doesn’t turn out as expected.

I also liked the Amy love 💚
Profile Image for Alli Wilson.
213 reviews
May 3, 2019
I’m so excited for this! The authors are phenomenal cooks so I can’t wait to see what they came up with.
Profile Image for Molly.
98 reviews8 followers
December 4, 2019
Lovely to look at and written by two librarians—so in addition to the recipes being delicious, they’re impeccably historically researched and cited. A delight.
Profile Image for Amanda Knox.
76 reviews3 followers
January 6, 2020
I mean, there was no chance I was giving this book fewer than 5 stars- they would have literally had to forget to put in the pages. That being said, the recipes are good fun and directly connected to the story. I absolutely love the addition of historical receipts.
Profile Image for Alicia Impink.
185 reviews1 follower
December 23, 2020
This was so cute and fun to read! Informative and cozy with some lovely recipes.
Profile Image for Theresa Jehlik.
1,253 reviews5 followers
November 9, 2020
The authors, two librarians, have done a lot of historical research and testing, to adapt Victorian recipes for the modern cook. Each March sister has a section devoted to her as well as additional sections on holidays and special occasions. The authors also dispel the notion that Victorian food was bland and boring. Rather, it was seasonal cooking at its best that let each ingredient shine. The illustrations are done in sepia which charmingly adds to the Victorian feel of the book. This would make a great gift for the Little Women fan in your life.
Profile Image for Kara.
Author 22 books78 followers
May 12, 2021

A great cookbook for young cooks just learning the basics who are also die hard Little Women fans.

It champions all four sisters as being equal - coming to Amy's defense in particular, emphasizing there is no reason to put down one in order to elevate an other, which is a very important message that needs to be said early and often.
Profile Image for Carolyn .
160 reviews
December 8, 2019
It took a lot from the novel and attempted recipes with that time of the civil war era.
Profile Image for Amanda.
458 reviews6 followers
July 25, 2020
Good, but the recipes were not ones that I would take the time to make... Too time consuming or complicated. They look to be true to the time period, but not what I was interested in overall.
Profile Image for Beka.
2,653 reviews
July 11, 2021
This would be fun to read and cook from when reading or watching Little Women. None of the recipes appealed to me though.
Profile Image for Kristina Marie.
1,098 reviews7 followers
Shelved as 'cookbooks'
July 17, 2021
All of the food pictures are random stock images. Shameful.
Profile Image for Bec.
75 reviews6 followers
September 18, 2021
This really is a beautiful book with much to read and enjoy as well as the well researched recipes... perhaps one day I will even try the soggy asparagus toast!
Profile Image for Madeline.
269 reviews
January 9, 2020
Ummmm... no index? And recipes organized by supposed character faves and not type (with no index to make them easy to find)???
Profile Image for Kathryn.
717 reviews19 followers
February 6, 2020
I did not enjoy this nearly as much as The Little Women Cookbook by Wini Moranville.

This cookbook was split into sections designated by character (as opposed to meal or occasion) and was printed on glossy paper, with abundant photos and thorough instructions.

I did not like the tone in which the supplemental material was written. It felt too socially conscious and contemporary, putting the March sisters into our world instead of putting us into theirs. An otherwise attractive cookbook, it just wasn't for me.
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews

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