I was going to think through this whole Little House eating thing (help, please! I need a catchy title for my theme week!) a little longer, but had a chance to go shopping with a car today, so I quickly made a list of staples and "specials" I thought I would need. The perishability of some items means I'll be starting soon, maybe sometime tomorrow. (I meant to start tomorrow at breakfast, but realized I accidentally bought some avocados--they were looking good and weirdly cheap and I KNOW they come from Mexico, but, well. Powerless. Anyway, there's almost nothing further from something the Ingallses/Wilders would eat than avocados, so of course I have to eat them first.)
Here's what I laid in, to add to a few things I already had on hand (such as PLENTY of maple syrup): apples, heavy cream, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, molasses (I've never bought such a big bottle of molasses), buttermilk, whole milk, free range organic eggs, pea beans, oysters, oyster crackers, nutmeg, popcorn (I expect popcorn, popped in a kettle, to be one of my primary snacks; it'll be like Christmas every day. I mean, like an ordinary winter evening on the Wilder farm), buckwheat flour, dried corn, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, squash, pumpkin, turnips, lettuce (yes, I know there's no way they would have had THAT in winter, but I'm not going to carry accuracy that far), salt pork, bacon, cinnamon, and cloves. I still need to pick up some dried fruit, and I might get some fish. And I'm going to go ahead and eat my natural organic cheese occasionally (mostly because I forgot and opened some a few minutes ago); I don't figure it'll be that different from what they might have had.
Just realized I'm dooming myself to a week without hot cocoa. I'd better go make some now. It's interesting--I can't remember that chocolate appears in the Little House books at all (anyone?), yet twenty-five years later in the Betsy-Tacy books, it's absolutely ubiquitous. Mr. Ray wasn't kidding when he said that when HE was a boy, they managed to study without all the fudge.
I'm aware that I'm likely to be eating every day as if it were a feast, in Little House terms, but I know too that for me this will be an exercise in self-denial the likes of which would make Mary proud. Already I'm sort of gasping internally at the idea of the limited snacks, the lack of garlic, the single orange. (Hmm. I suppose I could have canned peaches, too, couldn't I?) But I'm also kind of surprised at the Plenty I have. And when the week ends and I can drink that cocoa, it'll be like the supply train has finally made it to DeSmet*.
*Except that's total hyperbole, because instead of starvation rations of brown bread, tea, and maybe some baked potato with salt for months, I'll be feasting on bird's nest pudding and baked beans and oyster stew for one week. But you get the idea. Hmm, I probably should have laid in some more heavy cream.