‘Little House on the Prairie’: Here’s What the Cast Was Really Eating During Meal Scenes (Hint: It’s Not Rabbit Stew)
Little House on the Prairie captivated audiences for quite a few reasons. First, it included family-friendly themes that fans of all ages could enjoy. And second, it helped explore life during a different era. Viewers were fascinated by watching the Ingalls family on their homestead and the many challenges they faced.
And like real homesteading families, Little House on the Prairie castmates frequently gathered around the table to enjoy home-cooked meals together. Only they weren’t really having fresh caught rabbit stew during dinner — it just looked that way.
‘Little House on the Prairie’ remains a popular family drama
The Western drama series kicked off with a two hour pilot movie in 1974, but even now fans are still enamored by Little House on the Prairie, which is based on the book series by the same name. The main character is Laura Ingalls (Melissa Gilbert), a regular girl growing up on a farm in Minnesota.
The series was considered a drama and dealt with heavy topics ranging from racism to substance abuse, but it also included plenty of tender moments and humor that made fans nostalgic for days past. Little House on the Prairie never received the critical acclaim it deserved, however, it remains a cult classic even decades after the final episode aired.
The Ingalls family ate Dinty Moore stew and Kentucky Fried Chicken
Like any agrarian family living on a homestead in the late 1800s, the Ingalls family led by Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon) relied on their own resources for food. That meant growing their own vegetables and hunting large and small game for meat. The family often dined on rabbit, chicken, or squirrel stew while they engaged in discussions at the dinner table.
But in modern day, the actors were actually eating Dinty Moore brand beef stew, Mental Floss reported. And for those times when Laura had some leftover chicken at school in her lunch pail? That came courtesy of the popular fast-food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Melissa Gilbert adores fried chicken in real life too
It would have been a bit difficult for the actors to choke down real rabbit stew for their scenes, but no one seemed to mind the Dinty Moore stand in. And Gilbert says she especially loved her fried chicken scenes because she’s such a huge fan of the dish.
“I was always the first one eating the extra food [on set]. I would just gorge myself!” she told Parade, after explaining that they also enjoyed Pillsbury biscuits in place of homemade and pies sourced from local shops.
And she still enjoys fried chicken so much, she even identified it as her favorite dish to cook at home for her family. “I’m a fried chicken fanatic,” Gilbert told Parade. “That’s the one thing everybody wants. All my friends ask for the recipe, so I know I’ve finally perfected it.”
You and yours can enjoy more Little House on the Prairie recipes from The Little House Cookbook, which is still a bestseller now.