Italian Grandma Survives Depression, Strikes Gold
Depression-era cooking means recession-era profits.
Along with this recession comes Clara Cannucciari, a 93-year-old grandmother and star of Great Depression Cooking, a web series on which she shares recipes and describes, with great charm and humor, how she and her family survived -- gained weight, even -- during the Great Depression.
Clara’s mini empire includes a website, a widely followed YouTube (GOOG) show, a DVD, and a Facebook page with more than 2,000 friends. St. Martin’s Press plans to publish her cookbook this October, 80 years after the start of the Great Depression.
Behind it all is an entrepreneurial grandson, Chris Cannucciari, 30. The Brooklyn-based director and cinematographer realized his grandmother’s stories were especially relevant to people struggling in today’s squeezed economic times.
Two years ago Chris first started taping and posting videos of his grandmother preparing the basic Depression-era fare she’d eat as a girl growing up in Chicago. To cook Depression-style, start with a sack of potatoes, a sack of flour, some onions, eggs, tomato sauce, hot dogs, and, occasionally, an affordable cut of meat.
Among the 7 episodes Chris has posted show Clara preparing pasta with peas, egg drop soup and panecotta, which is cooked bread (stale bread revived with a little olive oil, salt and boiling water).
At first, the videos didn’t attract much attention. But when the economy worsened, interest in the shows took off. “Now when the New York Times does a piece on recessions or depressions, views spike high,” said Chris.
In fact, Clara’s lifelong frugality has shaped how he and his wife, photographer Abby Cope, budget their lives and plan for the future. We talked to Chris about his grandmother's influence.
Q: Why did you decide to create the Great Depression Cooking showcase with your grandmother?
A: She’s always been such a character. I thought she’d be great. When she was 91, I said I have to videotape you for this family history. You keep saying this is your last year, so let me capture you. My grandmother is a great Italian cook, but I thought her recipes from the Great Depression would be most unique to shoot.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.