Discover a lifetime of wisdom, memories and recipes from the Great Depression.
Clara Bonfanti Cannucciari was the 94 year-old host of the YouTube phenomenon web series Great Depression Cooking with Clara, which has had over a million visitors. She was also the co-author of the book Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression.
Mrs. Cannucciari was born on August 16, 1915 in Chicago, Illinois and lived through the Great Depression in America. Her Sicilian American parents were hit hard by the tough economic times and her mother came up with some pretty great ways to save money on meals. These ways worked for them and their family was safe and healthy after the Depression.
Christopher Cannucciari (Mrs. Cannucciari's grandson) filmed Clara cooking her mother's meals in 2007 and posted them online on YouTube. The number of people searching for Depression and Depression food ideas helped the YouTube series become an online hit.
The Great Depression Cooking Show
Clara says, "Welcome to my kitchen. I'm Clara. I'm 94. I've written a book to help you get through the hard times." Her videos include many recipes for a recession or for tough times. Visit with Clara in this short, two-minute video as she is interviewed by Katie Couric.
Clara's Kitchen (The Book)
The success of the web series resulted in the cookbook, which is an interesting read for anyone interested in learning about what people went through during the Depression and for anyone looking for some simple, economical recipes and meal ideas. Watch this short advertisement for the cookbook here:
Reviews include words like touching and well-written. Readers, whether aware of the video sensation or not, are charmed by Clara and delighted to find a book on the subject of depression era cooking. They celebrate the peek into the memories, photos, and recipes of this 1920s and 1930s Italian immigrant family. They celebrate the simple recipes like Dandelion Salad, Eggs and Potatoes, Pasta with Beans, Pasta with Broccoli, Pasta With Escarole. Meals with inexpensive ingredients like pasta, greens, eggplant, eggs, potatoes and tomato sauce. They celebrate the nutritional common sense that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and minimal meat, which was done in those years for economical reasons but is celebrated today as a good way to eat. They celebrate the fact that Clara remained cheerful and practical through out the book even though she shared the struggles and stresses of life in a family trying to make ends meet.
Writer P. Duncan said, "I ordered several copies of this book. I had watched her videos and of course was charmed. I started to read one of the copies I bought and got through 30 pages and knew I was going to give more for gifts before Christmas. Thank you Clara for sharing."
The Great Depression Cooking Show DVD
Yes, you can buy Clara's video on a DVD. On the Great Depression Cooking Show DVD you will find her recipes for Pasta with Peas, Egg Drop Soup, Poorman's Meal, Peppers and Eggs, Homemade Bread, Cooked Bread, Depression Breakfast, Poorman's Feast, Twice Baked Potato and the Holiday Episode plus six DVD exclusive recipes: Pasta with Garlic, Fried Fish, An Afternoon with Clara, Great Depression Survival Tips and Behind the Scenes.
Natalie Shadows said that "It is a wonderful DVD." She elaborated by saying that "Clara was a delightful, feisty and kind personality whose kitchen was a joy to visit. I loved the stories she told about life during the depression while adeptly cooking up her recipes. The meals were so basic that they will seem almost exotic to modern palates, but they exemplify making the most of what you have and appreciating it. Every episode left me with a smile and a desire to do a better job in all areas of my life."
I, too, think that Clara Cannucciari would be a pretty interesting lady to meet but she passed away at the age of 98 in 2013. As was required in the Great Depression, Clara did a lot with a little and she appears to have approached it all with a positive attitude. You can buy Clara's cookbook on Amazon by clicking right here and her video by clicking here.
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Author's Note: This page was originally written for another website in 2010.