It’s finally here! Let’s celebrate the release of the new Little Women movie trailer the 36 Eggs way — with a list of every food and drink in the book!
Btw, if you need a simpler, straightforward lineup of Little Women menu ideas, we have one for you here. To get recipes for classic Little Women comestibles, check out our new cookbook, available now!
Now then, here is our Little Women Food & Drink Index, in alphabetical order. (You can also click on the sheets to see the foods and beverages organized by frequency of appearance.)
If you are a bit obsessive like me and need further detail, the Little Women Food & Drink Concordance is a chronological list, including the chapter and passage.
But here’s a brief-ish summary for readers who’d rather not mess with Google Sheets …
The foods most commonly eaten in the novel:
1. fruit, including apples, berries, dates, figs, grapes, (pickled) limes, oranges, and plums. Fresh fruit is Beth’s favorite food.
2. bread. Not terribly exciting, but also not surprising.
3. meat, including beef, chicken, and turkey.
4. candy, including molasses candy, bonbons, and chocolate drops.
4. gingerbread. There are so many forms of gingerbread! Plain gingerbread, cards of gingerbread, hard gingerbread, gingerbread nuts …
4. vegetables, including asparagus, cabbage, olives, potatoes, and squash.
7. cake, including seed, wedding, and unspecified varieties.
8. ice cream, which they also call “ices.”
9. jelly (including the currant jelly, even though it wouldn’t “jell”).
9. seafood, including fish, fish balls, lobster salad, and oysters.
9. turnovers, thanks to Hannah.
Beverages, in order of frequency of appearance:
3. wine (despite the Marches being temperance folk)
7. French chocolate
7. beef tea
Of course, when it comes to food and drink, frequency doesn’t necessarily indicate importance to the story. If you ask book fans what the quintessential Little Women food is, they’d probably answer pickled limes, blanc-mange, or currant jelly, because they’re all from memorable scenes. And more often than not, it’s not what the characters are having that leaves an impression, but what they do with the meal. Does anyone recall what the sisters were supposed to eat for that special Christmas breakfast? Nope, all we remember is that they gave it away.