Mud Pies and Other Recipes

March 10, 2011

Title: Mud Pies and Other Recipes
Author: Marjorie Winslow
Illustrator: Erik Blegvad
Best for Age: 5-12
ISBN: 9781590173688
Publisher: New York Review Children’s Collection (2010)
List Price: Hardcover, $14.95
Buy on Amazon


Have you been in the market for a make-believe cookbook?

I thought so. Well, I am pleased to inform you that your search is over! You needn’t look any further than Marjorie Winslow’s Mud Pies and Other Recipes.

There are few other cookbooks out there that include such delicacies as Seesaw Salad, Mud Puddle Soup, Gravel en Casserole, or Pencil Sharpener Pudding.

As Winslow describes in the Forward of her text,

“This is a cookbook for dolls. It is written for kind climates and summertime. It is an outdoor cookbook, because dolls dote on mud, when properly prepared. They love the crunch of pine needles and the sweet feel of seaweed on the tongue […] Doll cookery is not a very exacting art. The time it takes to cook a casserole depends upon how long your dolls are able to sit at the table without falling over. And if a recipe calls for a cupful of something, you can use a measuring cup or a teacup or a buttercup. It doesn’t much matter. What does matter is that you select the best ingredients available, set a fine table, and serve with style.”

This may be a make-believe cookbook, but it doubles as a fantastically creative storybook. Read Winslow’s instructions out loud and you are sure to receive lots of giggles in return. Young readers will love her downright silly recipes, such as Fried Water, Dandelion Souffle, and Crabgrass Gumbo. And children are sure to enjoy Erik Blegvad’s timeless black and white illustrations.

This fabulously fictional cookbook was originally published in 1961, but it was brought back into print by the New York Review of Books.

According to the New York Review of Books website:

“The New York Review Children’s Collection began in 2003 in an attempt to reward readers who have long wished for the return of their favorite titles and to introduce those books to a new generation of readers […] Praised for their elegant design and sturdy bindings, these books set a new standard for the definition of a ‘classic.'”

After doing a bit more research I have to admit that I agree wholeheartedly with their claims. I love the idea of reviving a favorite old book from its “out-of-print” grave. Sure $14.95 may seem a bit steep for a make-believe cookbook, but I think the price is great for such a beautifully constructed version of a timeless classic.

And the best part is, you can submit your own out-of-print favorites for consideration! Simply go to the NYRB website and give them the author, title, and original publishing date of the book you want to see published as a part of the NYRB Classics series!

In the mean time, have your little ones curl up with a nice warm cup of Rainspout Tea, and a fresh slice of Pine Needle Upside-Down Cake, and they are sure to devour Marjorie Winslow’s delightful Mud Pies and Other Recipes.

My Out Of Print Favorites (DIBS on submitting them to NYRB):

1. Becky’s Birthday, by Tasha Tudor. First published in 1960, this is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. You know those books you used to read as a kid that you just wanted to jump inside of? Well, this book still elicits the same reaction out of me every time I pick it up. It is the most adorable story following a little girl’s special day, complete with fresh churned peach ice cream and a party in the woods with a cake that floats down the river. I remember I would always pick it as my bedtime book when I had a babysitter, because it is deceivingly long and I would try to stay up until my parents came home. But the instant comfort of Tudor’s sweet-as-homemade-peach-ice-cream story and breathtaking illustrations always lulled me into an easy sleep. I would love for this book to be reprinted, because as of now there are only 5 used copies available on Amazon, and they are priced at $56 each (however, I’ve seen new copies for as much as $250).

2. Miss Jaster’s Garden, by N.M. Bodecker. Although it was first published in 1972, my dad and my older sister and I found this gem at our public library’s annual used book sale years and years ago. I don’t know how old we were when we got it, but I do know that our very well-loved copy has some added original illustrations of our own (of the purple crayon variety). It follows the adventures of a little hedgehog by the name of Hedgie, and his loving, yet mostly blind, caretaker named Miss Jaster. One day Hedgie falls asleep in one of Miss Jaster’s empty flower beds, and she mistakenly sprinkles flower seeds on his back. A few weeks later Hedgie has a lovely bouquet growing out of his quills, and as he prances and dances around the grounds, showing off his beautiful garden to the world, Miss Jaster mistakes him for a flower thief and adorable chaos ensues. If you can get your hands on a copy I HIGHLY recommend it!


  1. This is such a great program. I'm making lists of all the books I used to love…

  2. Wow that is an amazing program! I think if a lot of the older books were re-printed the newer children’s books would really have a run for their money! Most of the classic stories that people have forgotten about far outrank the newer titles. I hope those two you mentioned make it onto the list!

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