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Great Depression Cooking with Clara

April 14, 2010

It’s not a  secret – I ♥ Clara!  I love to watch her and I love the way she continuously describes her meals as “simple and nourishing.” I love that word nourishing; it conveys so much more than a simple set of number that represent “nutrition” in the sense of calories, vitamins, minerals, fat, carbs, protein, etc…”Nourishing” is a description of food that implies life sustenance, growth, comfort, love.

Last night I had to work, as I’ve started doing at least 2-3 evenings during the week and on the weekend. I needed a quick dinner to throw together, but also needed to go grocery shopping, so I searched around and landed on good ol’ spaghetti. Instead of spaghetti, I used a mix of what I had left of rotini and malfada to make it fun(and use up the bits and pieces) and threw a jar of extra-veggie pasta sauce in the microwave.

I felt a bit like a cheater by just boiling pasta and microwaving spaghetti sauce, so I hunted around for even more veggies to throw in since we need more veggies. We go through frozen peas like water around here, so I automatically reached for the freezer door to grab one of the 50 bags usually in there and realized we’d used them up. So, I threw in a can of peas with the sauce.

I can’t lie, it looked disgusting. Really gross. I was really glad to be leaving for work and not eating with them.

Flash forward a few hours to me calling from work to see how everything was: John tells me that dinner was a BIG hit. Um…ok? I thought he was joking, but he said the kids gobbled it up. Then he paused a bit and said, “How did you know about my love of peas in pasta?”


Turns out, his Grandmother used to make it like that for his brother and him all the time. And he requested that I make it again regularly. Well, that’s easy enough to add into a regular routine!

So, today my blog reader updated with a new video from Clara and I went to watch and started clicking around in youtube to see some of her other videos. Imagine my surprise when I found this one – Episode One is Pasta with Peas!

I knew I loved Clara! I don’t even remember ever seeing that episode, so it made me laugh. John’s Grandmother would be just about the same age if she were still alive, and she was also Italian, so it makes sense that she would make something so similar. I just had to chuckle.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2010 3:16 pm

    I will be sure to check out some of Clara’s videos. What you wrote here reminded me of my own grandmother. She’ll be 85 this year and she remembers the Depression years well. They still have an effect on her. I remember family meals at her house. She used a spatula to scrape every last bit from every pot. And, if someone didn’t finish something on her plate she either packed it up for them to take home or she’d eat it herself. Nothing went to waste.

  2. seekingsibling permalink
    April 23, 2010 9:54 am

    Owen used to be a big fan of mac and peas! 🙂
    Owen’s Mac & Peas
    Cook whole wheat macaroni (or fusili or other small pasta bits.) About a minute or two before the pasta’s done, throw in some frozen peas. Add chopped ham if desired Throw shredded cheese on top, and add a Tbsp or so of cream cheese. Stir well. Makes a gooey creamy mess that gets some extra veggies and meat in for the day.

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