Cooking Lessons From the Great Depression

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Cooking Lessons From the Great Depression

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Some of the most popular freebie eBooks that I share on my Facebook page have to do with cooking on a budget or with limited supplies.  That may be because history has taught us that cooking during the great depression was a sizable challenge for most families.

In order to prevent going hungry, the smallest amounts of cheap food had to be used in creative ways.  Potatoes, pasta, beans, bread and home grown veggies were the mainstay of many meals and usually not all at once.  Often times, adults would forego a meal so that their children could eat.

It will not take a deep depression to have to resort to depression era cooking techniques. A severe drought or even a catastrophic disaster could cut off supplies, resulting in a dearth of food to eat.  Making it even more difficult is that in these days of supermarkets, processed food and fast food joints, there seems to be an endless supply of food and many people can not fathom a time when food will  not available.

Today I look back at one of more popular food related articles on Backdoor Survival, Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.


Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen


From time to time I feature bonus articles that are buried in the Backdoor Survival archives.  I hope you enjoy this one.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin: Just a few related items today for your consideration.

Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression:  The book is a true treasure.  Recommended not only for the recipes, but for the heartwarming anecdotes that fondly recall memories of life when all you could count on was yourself and strength of the family unit.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients: Ditto.

How to Live on Wheat: Everything you need to know about wheat.

The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster: Written by Bernie Carr at the Apartment Prepper blog, this is highly readable guide to all things preparedness.

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6 Responses to “Cooking Lessons From the Great Depression”

  1. The Time to prepare is not when things are tough, I recently incurred some stiff medical expenses and a concurrent decrease in income. Wish I had spent more on nonparishable food items that I regularly use, large containers of favorite herbs and spices, as well as my favorite organic dried beans and rice. My pantry is not completely bare, I am minimally prepared and determined to do a better job shopping for essentials. I don’t have space for too much, can’t prep for an extended period but I want to have as much as possible if I can’t get to the store.

  2. My sister gifted me the whole series of books and dvds of Clara’s for my birthday this year since she knew i was looking toward how folks lived and thrived during pioneer days and the great depression.

    this is a book/DVD series you must have in your prepper library!! I have actually made several things out of the books and i have done the cost of florida prices as a reference

    for example- on page 18 of ‘Clara’s kitchen’, her squash with eggs– it serves 6 people and is rather filling– I picked everything up at Save-A-Lot and it cost about 75-80 cents a serving! now just think if you can grow the organics and raise the birds and make the cheese!

    i also suggest that Preppers look in to pioneer life, Amish living, and other cultures and how they survived before the invention of lightbulbs.

  3. i really want this book and have wrote it into my amazon shopping list. i have a whole list of stuff i want to order from amazon in addition to what i have already gotten. now to just wait a little to have the money to spend.

    has anyone else thought of just how much money amazon is making from the prepping community? ohhhhh, if i were only just half that lucky! LOL

  4. Actually this is a very timely book……we need all the helpful suggestions we can get…..ok, change that to me and many others. I’m going to acquire that book now. Thank YOU Gaye!! John R.: I hear ya …..ditto!!

  5. I have purchased Clara’s book, from the recommendation from some red head that lives on an island, and I have discovered something depressing. I am still living in the depression. Her recipes are what I had to eat last week. Place some cooking oil (bacon grease) in a heavy skillet. Put in something from your garden, cook, and eat. On Sunday, if you are lucky, have some meat with it. Yep, that’s me.
    Her stories are the most enlightening things in her book. Life in the depression. I think reading her stories Clara may have been a little “fast” as they called it. She says her best job she had during the depression, was working at the “Twinkies factory”. In my mind I see her as Lucile Ball was in the chocolate factory. Shoving that food in her mouth to get rid of it. It wouldn’t do for me to work on a “Twinkies” assembly line.
    Keep up the good work Gaye.

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