Little House on the Prairie fans will remember the “Cinnamon Chicken” episode as the episode where Laura Ingalls sabotages a meal Nellie Oleson makes for Almanzo Wilder. According to Melissa Gilbert, the actor who played Laura, there was a lot going on that day behind the scenes. She and Alison Arngrim (who played Nellie) shared an intimate, comical moment about growing up.
Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim became best friends while filming ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Though Laura and Nellie were on-screen enemies, when the cameras weren’t rolling, Gilbert and Arngrim were the best of friends. They got up to plenty of mischief on the Paramount lot.
“At lunch, we constantly tried to gross each other out by mixing together the most disgusting combinations of food—and eating them!” Gilbert shared in her memoir, Prairie Tale. “One of my more memorable creations was butterscotch pudding and radishes. It wasn’t half bad.”
In addition to their “adventures on the lot,” Arngrim was Gilbert’s main source of information when it came to things like puberty. The Laura actor’s mother was embarrassed and therefore tight-lipped about the subject, so Gilbert leaned on her friend to learn about the birds and the bees.
“[Alison Arngrim] made sure I noticed her boobs on the day they popped out,” wrote Gilbert.
The ‘Cinnamon Chicken’ episode on ‘Little House on the Prairie’
A day before filming the “Cinnamon Chicken” episode, Gilbert got her period for the first time. When she told her mother, she lightly smacked her across the face.
“I found out the slap was a Jewish tradition; now that your daughter is a woman, this is the last time you can punish her physically,” wrote Gilbert. “From here on in, the only punishment allowed from your mother is the verbal kind.”
The actor’s aunt and grandmother came over and they all shared a “lovely, emotional moment” celebrating Gilbert’s growing up.
But the next day it was back to work. Little House fans may remember the scene where Laura and Nellie get into a physical fight. It was between filming takes of this scene that Gilbert shared the news with Arngrim.
“The two of us had a confrontation, a big wrestling match in a mud hole, which was essentially an old watering hole for cattle,” she wrote. “As they reset cameras, I whispered to her, ‘I’m a woman now.'”
Arngrim responded with a grin and said: “You’re also covered in cow shit. How appropriate.”