Clara Cannucciari: Great Depression Cooking With Clara

February 28, 2009

Meet Clara Cannucciari the 93-year old Italian-American who is sharing her Great Depression cooking secrets on YouTube to great acclaim. See video and a biography and find out more about great-grandmother who has become Internet celebrity.

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Clara Cannucciari is in the news because her YouTube channel which features a series of videos, Great Depression Cooking With Clara, has become an viral video sensation, and the charming, affable great-grandmother is in firm footing in the social networking world with her own Web site, blog and a Facebook account where she interacts with her growing fan base.

There are ten videos in the series which her filmmaker grandson Christopher Cannucciari shot. Each video shows her preparing a thrifty Italian-American dish from her Great Depression era upbringing.

We talk about Great Depression cooking, and now we have someone who can introduce us to the real, authentic recipes that helped cash-strapped families survive those years of economic hardship in the U.S. Some of the dishes include pasta with peas and potatoes, pepper and egg sandwiches and egg drop soup.

In an interview Clara Cannucciari talked about the recipes.

“It was cheap and it was nourishing. My mother used to make [the dishes] during the Depression. These are all simple things to make.”

Her grandson discussed the project, its impetus and progress and growing popularity now that the country faces economic struggles unseen since that long ago era that has led him to increase the pace of production on the project. He said he began shooting the videos with his grandmother in 2007, characterizing it as “oral history with a twist.” Based on feedback he has received, he attributes some of the popularity of the videos to “the experience of hanging out with your grandmother.”

Despite the meager budget, Clara Cannucciari’s family ate well thanks to her mother’s inventiveness.

“My father used to buy a sack of potatoes. We ate potatoes every day, potatoes with pasta, potatoes fried, potatoes with eggs.”

Nonetheless, the hardships were real and viewers get glimpses of that through Clara Cannucciari’s anecdotes. She says, for instance, that the family had to bury their food in the snow one winter because they could not afford a freezer.

As a biography, Clara Cannucciari was born in 1915 in Chicago, Illinois so her age is 93. Her parents were Sicilian immigrants from Italy. She grew up in Chicago’s west suburban Melrose Park. She dropped out of high school after sophomore year in 1935 and began working in a Hostess factory, filling the company’s iconic Hostess Twinkies. She later worked as a secretary. In 1948, she married opera singer Dino Cannucciari in Rome, Italy. She gave birth to the couple’s son, Carl, in 1950.

She now lives in upstate New York, in the Finger Lakes region and has four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Watch Clara Cannucciari: Great Depression Cooking With Clara video below.

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One Response to “Clara Cannucciari: Great Depression Cooking With Clara”

  1. 1
    Mizell Says:

    Great JOB !