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How to cook pasta in this "New Great Depression"

Cooking in the Great Depression: 94-year-old gives tips on her own YouTube show

During these tough economic times you'd think the Great Depression would not be a particularly popular topic.
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Don't tell that to Clara Cannucciari's thousands of fans. The 94-year-old former Melrose Park resident is giving Americans a taste of life during the Great Depression with her hugely popular YouTube show, "Great Depression Cooking With Clara."
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She also has a Facebook account and has just published a book, "Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression." (Written with her grandson, Christopher Cannucciari, the book is published by St. Martin's Press, $21.99.)

clara cannucciari

It's no mystery to Cannucciari why her Depression-era recipes are so popular.

"They're different, they're cheap and they're good for you," she said. "Everything you could need for times like these."
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Many of Cannucciari's recipes involve pasta.

"Pasta with some vegetable, that was normal," she said "Every night was pasta. Sunday we got sauce."
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She has recipes for pasta with peas, pasta with beans, pasta with garlic. Lots of pasta. But not just pasta. Vegetables, potatoes, bread, olive oil, eggs. These are staples. Meat was a rarity and a treat for special occasions in the Cannucciari household during the Depression.

And that household is a major ingredient in Cannucciari's recipe for success. Stories of how she and her family coped with hard times are an important part of her show and book.

The Cannucciari family lived in the 1100 block of 22nd Avenue. Her brother Sam still lives in Melrose Park, as do other relatives and friends.

"I always felt at home (in Melrose Park). I was born there and I lived there most of my life," she said. "I used to love playing baseball and roller skating on 21st Avenue. It was the only paved street when I was a kid. Our street used to be brick."
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Despite hard times, Cannucciari's show and book are filled with warm memories of her parents (Joe and Josephine Bonfanti), brother Sam and her extended Italian-American family.
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"We had no radio," Cannucciari said "My aunt would read romance books out loud. We would sit around and listen. She was a pretty good reader. That was our entertainment."

Then there was the time during Prohibition when bootleggers went from house to house seeking to rent garages in which to make their illegal beverages. Cannucciari's parents refused. But the next-door neighbors didn't. "The whole neighborhood smelled of whiskey," she said.

But Cannucciari saw the Depression clearly. And not all her memories are happy. "The Depression was bad," she said. She had to quit high school her sophomore year because she couldn't afford to buy socks.

"I left Melrose Park in May 1983 to move Skaneateles, New York," Cannucciari said, "to be closer to my son Carl and my grandchildren, Therese, Christopher, John-Paul and Mark."

It was Christopher who thought his grandmother's happy/sad memories of the Depression and her encyclopedia of delicious/economical recipes just might have appeal beyond the family. He filmed the first "Great Depression Cooking with Clara" and posted it on YouTube.
coach outlet website That was more than two years ago. The show has had been a hit. There have been numerous articles and appearances on "Good Morning, America" and CBS, among others.
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Cannucciari has struck a chord in thousands of 21st century Americans, sparking real affection:

"You are doing a great service to pass on your knowledge."

"You remind me of my own grandma..."

"Your videos were reassuring that however tough the times be there is always a ray of hope."

"Bless you, Ms. Clara."

"Now more than ever people will need to find creative, easy and inexpensive meals to feed their families as the economy is really hurting a lot of people."

"Bless you, Ms. Clara."

Cannucciari herself isn't quite ready to equate today with the Great Depression, she said, "Not yet, not fully. I hope it stops."

But she does have some advice for today's under-pressure Americans:

"Eat good, cheap things, buy less clothes and take care of the ones you have."

Source: www.pioneerlocal.com

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