Mud Pies and Other Recipes Giveaway

Every child should have this recipe book.

I don’t often say things like that, so it must be true. I’d even go so far as to claim that every child needs to have this recipe book.

The book that has so totally captured my children’s imaginations is Mud Pies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow. It was originally published in 1961 but has fortunately been reprinted more recently, which means you don’t have to pay bucket-loads for it on Amazon. And no, I’m not being paid, blackmailed or otherwise encouraged to say wonderful things about it – the publishers don’t even know I exist. I do have a copy of this book that I’d like to give away, but it isn’t some freebie sample or review copy from anywhere. I bought it myself.

So – what’s so good about this book, anyway? Although its contents are divided into Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Main Dishes, Pastries, Desserts and Beverages, and although there is even a section on Suggested Menus, it doesn’t contain any recipes that you would actually want to eat. Unless you were a doll, that is – or perhaps a garden sprite or an imaginary friend.

And that’s exactly where the power of this book lies. Using ingredients found easily in a backyard or on the seashore, children learn skills of  food preparation and serving that would be worthy of any Michelin-starred chef or restaurant.

I have watched my children sieving, stirring, pouring, seasoning, baking, spreading, sprinkling, skewering and cutting their ingredients. They have arranged their meals on serving platters, plates and in bowls, and carried everything carefully to the pass. Whether as Chef de Cuisine,  Sous-Chef, Commis or General Dogsbody, they have negotiated their roles and responsibilities in the industries of Food and Beverage Production, Service and Kitchen Stewarding. And they have done all of this themselves in a world entirely of their own making.

Pine Needle Upside-Down Cake, Crabgrass Gumbo, Dandelion Soufflé, Leaves en Brochette …

And Mud Pies, of course …

To a coffee can filled 3/4 full of rich dirt, add just enough water to make a very firm mud. Pack this mud into the cups in the bottom half of a heavy cardboard egg carton. Set in the sun to dry slightly, then turn the carton over and unmold on a sunny terrace or sidewalk. When the pies are hard, they are done. Serves 12.

These mud pies keep indefinitely and are good to have on hand for impromptu entertaining.

This is exactly the sort of book that I would have spent hours poring over as a child. Heck, I’d love to have more free hours to spend poring over it even now as an adult! It’s charming, whimsical and dated, yes. But it’s also creative, sophisticated, inspirational, magical and timeless. My only regret is that I didn’t come across it sooner in the lives of my children.

I haven’t forgotten that I mentioned a Giveaway …

I have a spare copy of Mudpies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow that I will send to someone who promises to let it get a bit muddy in the name of creativity. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in the space below this post. You don’t have to say anything much – a quick ‘Hi’ will do. Just something to let me know you’d like to enter the draw. will choose the lucky winner (make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you – it won’t be published, but I’ll need to contact you to find out your mailing address if you win).

The deadline for entry to the giveaway is at midnight (BST) on the day that my children break up from school for their summer holidays – Wednesday 11th July 2012. 

Good luck 🙂

Leave a comment


  1. hi! this certainly sounds like a great book, which I’m sure my boys would love.

  2. Nichola

     /  June 27, 2012

    I’d absolutely love to win! Hi 🙂

  3. sunonashoestring

     /  June 27, 2012

    Hi 🙂 Would love to share this with my daughter.

  4. Lucy

     /  June 27, 2012

    Oh wow, please have this to hand when we visit in July! I know a little girl who would love it – and a not so little one too. I remember concocting similar things when we were kids. Also, do you remember making ‘potions’ in the bathroom with things from the cupboards and leaving them under the sink for weeks to see what would happen (usually that Sylvia or Mum would clean them up)? Definitely a post for me to share on sit-on-your-face-book! xxxx

  5. Margaret P

     /  June 27, 2012

    I’ve loved your blog for ages (I’m a lurker coming out of hiding for this post!). Would love to win this book too. You’re very generous – hi!

  6. bakergirlsue

     /  June 27, 2012

    Another lurker here- hi! This book sounds wonderful. Lovely blog BTW 🙂

  7. Jon

     /  June 27, 2012

    Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud! I may not have need of a book telling me how to make a mess but I know a small person who would love it! Great blog. I assume you all tried what you made! Yummy!

  8. Dad

     /  June 27, 2012

    Please leave me out of this – I saw your previous concoctions before Sylvia and Yerma.

  9. Mum

     /  June 27, 2012

    It must be in the blood!
    I remember having dolly tea parties and feeding them on piles of “sugar” i.e. the seeds from dock plants.

  10. Aimee Ryan

     /  June 27, 2012

    Sounds like a great book!

  11. Lovely! Thanks for the -mail…..

  12. Sandra

     /  June 30, 2012

    Ooo, please enter me into the draw! My son would love this book. Anything muddy, he’s there.

  13. smileandeat

     /  June 30, 2012

    If I win this giveaway then I know a couple of girls next door who’d love to make these recipes. Hi 🙂

  14. I would love to win this book for my Grandkids. We can make the recipes together.

  15. lois

     /  July 1, 2012

    Looks like a fab book, yes please, I suppose the kids might like it too!

  16. Charlotte

     /  July 5, 2012

    Hi! The book looks so lovely, whimsical and inspirational. What a treat it’d be to win a copy!

  17. Tricia McCarthy

     /  July 7, 2012

    Hi! Yes I would love to win this book for my daughter!!!!!!

  18. Curious on how many of those mud pies and other mysteries we made as kids. It was published the year I was born and my grand kids would love to play in this book.

  1. Mud Pies: The Winner «

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