American girl recipe series captivates Tik Tok – Advice Eating

Seth Workman was first drawn to the American Girl cookbooks by his love of history and cooking.

INDIANAPOLIS — Growing up, Purdue Senior Seth Workman wasn’t among the legions of kids who could easily recall the faces of Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, or Molly.

The adventures of these American girls, loved by people growing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s who were fascinated by their forays into specific parts of US history, were not a hallmark of his childhood as he knew them to be for other people .

“Personally, I didn’t have an American Girl doll as a kid. I wasn’t really introduced to them until we were in quarantine. I’ve really always been interested in history. I just never knew the girls had any historical basis,” Workman said.

But there he was, on a random February afternoon, deep in the discount aisle of a Texas online bookseller, seriously considering adding two American Girl Cookbooks to his repertoire.

Addy and Felicity’s cookbooks contained easy-to-prepare, historically accurate recipes from their respective times. Workman checked their price – $2.98 each, reduced from the original $5.95 – and clicked Add to Cart.

“I took a lot of cooking classes in high school and college and thought cooking my way through these cookbooks would be really fun, especially since the American Girl dolls have been such a boom,” Workman said.

Soon he was looking for more.

While enthusiasts of the American Girl series may recall characters like Kit Kitteridge or Kaya’atonmay appearing in the larger line of historical characters dolls, Workman sought out only the six that debuted in 1986 as part of The Pleasant Company’s original collection.

This original, elite group was the only one with their own cookbooks. Molly and Samanthas were in his possession within a few weeks. He tracked down Josefina’s cookbook at a local library. Kirstens remained elusive.

Feeling that his collection was complete, as it could be for a number of niche cookbooks that hadn’t circulated since, “1994 or so,” he set about creating a recipe series.

Workman recorded Felicity’s cookbook – and the necessary ingredients for a breakfast of apple butter, Johnny cakes and fried ham and gravy in hand – on his phone.

“Every girl’s cookbook has three distinct sections — breakfast, dinner, and then favorite snacks,” he said. “I’ve worked through them all. It’s also a good way to get my feet wet with historical cuisine without going too deep.”

The first TikTok video he posted about cooking the meals has garnered 835,700 views and brings back memories to now-grown American Girl fans.

“I woke up from a nap and had a few thousand likes and shares. And I was like, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t expect this to happen so quickly,'” Workman said.

His TikTok account now has more than 31,000 followers. Most of them, including actress Holly Madison, are waiting for a specific doll’s recipes.

Samantha Parkington, the high-class Victorian-era doll, has a cookbook with recipes for gingerbread, Saratoga potatoes and cream of carrot soup.

“I’m looking forward to Samantha. I’ve gone through all the books and yours seems to be the one I’ve become most accustomed to. And it looks like the tastiest thing in most cookbooks,” Workman said.

Workman makes sure his dishes are as historically accurate as possible, and once called every butcher in the Lafayette area to try and get some veal for Felicity’s veal balls for dinner. He ended up having to mix beef and pork, at the suggestion of his followers, who he said are quick to point out historical inaccuracies.

“My comments got mad at me for using honey crisp apples. I really didn’t think about which apple variety I used first until everyone was like, ‘What are you doing Chris? Felicity didn’t use Honeycrisp,'” Workman said.

Still, Workman said the criticism only comes from a place of deep love for what the dolls and book series meant to people growing up. One TikToker was so excited about the series that he sent Workman his own well-worn copy of the elusive Kirsten cookbook for documentation to complete the set of six.

“From a historical point of view I kind of fell in, but I think people really like it because a lot of the dolls have such different personalities that I think everyone is really able to find a character that they can relate to.” can identify with,” Workman said.

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The actual recipes are not always comprehensible or even particularly tasty. Workman fought hard to like Felicity’s chicken pudding — a reported George Washington favorite — but called the meal a failure. He made Felicity’s whipped syllabub, raspberry flummery and Sally Lunn bread in different flavors.

“Felicity had a lot of really interesting recipes from the colonial days. She had this sweet potato casserole, I loved that. They are very typical – no spices. Just like pure chicken and some flour,” he said.

Now that Workman has finished Felicity’s cookbook, he said her Almond Tart Snacks were the best recipe.

He’s ready to go through another cookbook, and despite the desire of his followers, Ms. Samantha Parkington has to wait her turn.

“I’ll go in historical order. Next comes Josefina. I actually can’t find a physical copy of her book anywhere because it was as good as the last one to print,” he said. “There are only about two specimens in the entire state.”

Workman said he now only owns two American Girl dolls because Goodwill made an accidental discovery on behalf of his mother, who wanted to pay homage to his hit series.

However, he appreciates the enthusiasm of the people who stuck with these dolls well into adulthood and understands the series’ enduring appeal to Millennials and Gen Z children.

“I mean, it was your favorite childhood toy. It’s kind of hard to forget,” Workman said.

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