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Little House on the Prairie stands as one of the most iconic TV shows ever created. The ’70s Western hit gave viewers an in-depth look into pioneer life, and viewers learned a ton of life lessons regarding family, love, and friendship along the way.

Now, we’re delving into secrets from the set. Laura Ingalls Wilder, the creator of the Little House books, wrote about their meals in great detail. And while the show featured real soups and stews the real-life Wilders would’ve enjoyed, the little girls on the show had something different in their lunch tins.

Food was a huge deal for the real-life Ingalls family

'Little House on the Prairie'
‘Little House on the Prairie’ | George Hurrell/NBCU Photo Bank

Having food on the table wasn’t always an option for those living on small farms in the late 19th century. In the Little House books, Wilder brought readers into her world — and that included the meals. And the mealtime scenes were quite vivacious and memorable.

Atlas Obscura reminds Little House book fans of all the beautiful food scenes that occurred. On one occasion, Laura Ingalls burns her fingers on a salted pig’s tail. Another scene depicts creating hard candy with snow and molasses. But the publication reminds us the books romanticize the time period, and the Ingalls wouldn’t have actually had this much access to delicious eats.

The publication notes Wilder spends a lot of time in the books focusing on the meals her family made, but the family was still quite concerned when it came to having enough food for the winter. While the risk of famine and death was certainly there for the family, it was barely touched upon in the stories.

The little girls on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ had KFC fried chicken in their tins

'Little House on the Prairie'
‘Little House on the Prairie’ | Bud Gray/NBCU Photo Bank

The Minnesota winters were undoubtedly brutal for the Ingalls. But the actors certainly had it better than the real-life Little House family. Melissa Gilbert played Laura on the show, and she told Parade she and the rest of the cast got plenty of good eats while filming.

According to Gilbert, she’d eat “Dinty Moore canned stew, Pillsbury biscuits, pies from the local store, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was always the first one eating the extra food. I would just gorge myself!”

It seems KFC’s fried chicken was a particularly delicious staple for the kids on the show. According to Little Things, the little girls on the show had the fast-food company’s fried chicken in the lunch tins.

KFC’s Colonel Sanders appears in an episode of the show

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, Lindsay or Sydney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, Melisssa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall
Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, Lindsay or Sydney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, Melisssa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

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It seems there’s a nod to KFC’s Colonel Sanders in one episode of Little House. According to Little Things, a character resembling Colonel Sanders asks Harriet Oleson if she wants to serve only fried chicken at her restaurant and become part of his business in season 8.

While the character is clearly a nod to KFC, the timeline of the show certainly doesn’t add up with the fast-food restaurant’s opening. Colonel Harland Sanders was born in 1890, and KFC didn’t start until 1952. The show’s setting was meant to take place well before this.

It seems all the fried chicken on the show influenced Gilbert greatly over the years, though. She told Parade it’s her favorite dish to cook for friends and family — and it’s likely because of her childhood on the show. “I’m a fried chicken fanatic!” she said. “That’s the one thing everybody wants. All my friends ask for the recipe, so I know I’ve finally perfected it.”

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