Clara Cannucciari probably didn’t plan to become an Internet celebrity when her grandson Christopher began filming her cooking in her kitchen. But that’s exactly what has happened, as hundreds of thousands are now watching her cooking series, Great Depression Cooking, available on YouTube, and recently collected on a DVD, now in presale mode.

Of course people love Clara. She’s a kick, dispensing salty wisdom and cheap recipes that average 50 cents a serving. But it’s the memories she shares along the way that are really special, like how her mom used to tell her to go outside and get the meat for dinner, buried in the backyard in the snow because the family couldn’t afford a refrigerator. Or how the family would turn off the heat at the end of cooking a dish to save gas, letting the hot water do the rest of the work on its own. Clara’s recipes are equally thrifty, utilizing ingredients like eggs, pasta, and lots and lots of potatoes. In this episode, Clara makes a Poorman’s Feast: thin steak with lemon and olive oil, lentils and rice, salad, and bread.

CHOW has a newly launched Cooking with Grandma series too.

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