Mud Pies and Other Recipes

posted in: Erik Blegvad, Marjorie Winslow | 2

mudpies_coverThis “cookbook for dolls“, “written for kind climates and summertime” could equally well be described as a hamper of delicious ideas for outdoor creative play.

‘Recipes’ for appetizers and salads through to main dishes, desserts and drinks call for hand-picked, joyfully gathered ‘ingredients’, such as rainwater, flower petals, pine needles, moss and mud, as is perhaps only appropriate in Marjorie Winslow and Erik Blegvad’s book with the title Mud Pies and Other Recipes.

Those wishing to make delights such as Dandelion Soufflé, Left-handed Mudloaf or Boiled Buttons are provided with encouraging, yet simple, flexible and down-to-earth instructions, tacitly acknowledging that imaginative, independent play is serious business, deserving of great respect, and yet something we all sometimes need a little support to embrace.

Menu suggestions and advice on catering equipment complete the unpatronising and often downright funny text. Pen and ink illustrations throughout provide an air of sophistication, echoing Edward Gorey and early Sendak and honouring playful escapades waiting to happen with your favourite dolls and teddies.

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This book won the hearts of everyone here at Playing by the Book, and was swiftly followed by requests for more books by this pair. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any other children’s books written by Marjorie Winslow (1923-2012). She worked primarily worked as a fashion editor, though the wit and joie de vivre so present in Mud Pies and Other Recipes is clear in this description she provided of herself at a class reunion: “a housewife, a mother, an author, a corporation president, a free spirit, a sober citizen, a failure, a success.”

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Erik Blegvad (1923 – 2014), the book’s illustrator, may be unknowingly familiar to many readers – he illustrated Mary Norton’s Bed-Knob and Broomstick when it was first published as a combined edition of Norton’s two earlier books.

Although more than 55 years have passed since Mud Pies and Other Recipes was first published, it’s never gone out of print – and deservedly so. One read, and you’ll fall under its magic spell, and it won’t be long till you’ve mud under your nails and berry-stained fingers! (And happy dolls!)

Within seconds of of finishing our first read of Mud Pies and Other Recipes we were chomping at the bit to go “shopping” for ingredients and so off we set to gather goodies…

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It turns out that the garden, allotment and local park are full of the most wonderful and exotic spices, herbs and other ingredients…

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Of course, plenty of mud had to be mixed up…

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The cookery book was consulted…

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The dolls started lining up…

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And banqueting began:

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Whilst we made our outdoor feast for dolls we weren’t listening to anything other than birdsong but these would go well with Mud Pies and Other Recipes:

  • Marvellous Mud Pie by Jessie Farrell

    "Marvellous Mud Pie" – Jessie Farrell from Two Story Productions Inc. on Vimeo.

  • Mud Pie by Eric Two Scoops Moore
  • Mud Pies by Nature Jams


  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Mud Pies and Other Recipes include:

  • Making EDIBLE mud pie! Here’s a recipe from Good Housekeeping
  • Creating an outdoor kitchen role play area. Here are ideas from Worm’s Eye View, Let the Children Play and My Small Potatoes
  • Foraging for food you and your children really can eat. Wilder Child has a useful beginners guide for families

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    No disclosure statement necessary for this book as I loved it so much I bought my own copy!

    2 Responses

    1. Yowza! I have to devise a storytime with a MP-making activity! Thank you!
      Julie Rowan-Zoch recently posted..PPBF: Dylan the Villain

      • Yes! I think that would be so much fun. Even just the collecting of “ingredients” is great fun 🙂

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