Great Depression Cooking With Clara, A Frugal Dish

How good of a cook is Clara Cannucciari, a 93-year-old great-grandmother and host of her own online cooking show?

She's so good she claims to have gained weight during the Great Depression, according to her blog.

Cannucciari says it was her mother who taught her how to cook the meals she now re-creates on her cooking show , "Depression Cooking With Clara".

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"My father had to have his pasta every day," she said. "And my mother insisted we always have a little meat too."

In those days of hardship, a dollar had to stretch a long way. Cannucciari said that she and her brother liked meat so much that they would pretend to be sick to get a little more.

Food Costs and Cooking During the Depression

"It was expensive during the Depression, so we had to ration it," she told told "Good Morning America."

Cannucciari was born in Chicago in 1915 to Sicilian immigrant parents. She attended high school but money was tight, and she had to leave after her sophomore year. In 1935, she got a job at a Hostess factory filling Twinkies.

She later married, worked as a secretary, and had a son. She has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and now lives in upstate New York, enjoying her growing popularity as an Internet chef of a cuisine born of frugality and resourcefulness.

Cooking With Clara: New Generation, Same Family Recipes

Her grandson Christopher says he started filming his grandmother two years ago so that he could remember how she created the meals he'd enjoyed over the years.

"I wasn't sure if I could capture the magic of her storytelling and the details of the cooking at the same time," he says on her Web site. "There are no second takes with Clara. If she did it once, she doesn't feel the need to do it again."

Cook's Tip: Save Money With Pasta

For families looking to save money, Cannucciari recommends pasta. "Any kind. Have it every night, sometimes with meatballs. Salads you can make with salt, pepper and oil. And then you can always have some Italian bread. "

Cannucciari is at work on a DVD compilation of episodes of "Depression Cooking With Clara".

"There's no secret. It's just there. It's simple and it's good, " she explains.

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