Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bread Pudding

Nothing went to waste during The Great Depression, not even stale bread. Everything was re-used and stretched into another meal. You could make croutons from your stale bread, or you could make some delicious bread pudding! This is an Amish recipe recently found on Moms Who Think:

Bread Pudding


2 cups whole milk (or 2 cups half & half)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar (white or brown, depending on taste preference)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups bread, torn into small pieces (french bread works best)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)


1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk (or half & half) just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture.

3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole.

4. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Pour batter on top of bread.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

If you make the sauce to put on top of your bread pudding, adjust the sugar in the bread pudding recipe, change it to 1/3 cups sugar (the sauce has the other 1/3 cup in it).

Bread Pudding Sauce


1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. flour
dash of salt


Mix everything together and bring to a boil for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Great Depression Peppers and Eggs

Forget Susan Boyle, the ugly-duckling singer who has set the Internet on fire for her stunning performance on "Britain's Got Talent". Ninety-three year old Clara Cannucciari has become an online superstar for her YouTube videos featuring recipes she prepared during the Great Depression. Clara even has a cookbook in the works, and she has recently released a DVD featuring her YouTube videos plus some recipes she has not posted online.

Meat was always in short supply (and very expensive) during the Great Depression, so eggs and beans were used as alternate sources of protein. Here is Clara whipping up a batch of Great Depressoin Peppers and Eggs:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meatless Meat Loaf


1 cup rice
1 cup peanuts crushed
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt


Combine all the ingredients together. bake in a loaf pan for 30 minutes or until loaf is good and set.

With meat at a premium during the Great Depression, many people made do without chicken, beef or pork, except on rare occasions. One recurring theme that I have read from each story from someone who lived through the depression was that they remember being hungry all the time. The Meatless Meat Loaf may not sound appetizing, but it was filling.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rice Pudding

Grease a glass 9" x 13" glass baking dish with solid shortening.

Preheat oven to 300F.


½ cup long grain white rice
½ cup sugar
1 can evaporated milk, diluted to make one qt [must use evaporated milk]
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon to taste


Place all ingredients except cinnamon in pan. Generously sprinkle top with cinnamon . At least once during the baking, stir cinnamon crust into the rice and sprinkle top again with cinnamon. Let bake until rice is tender, or approximately 1 ½ hours. Let cool and serve either warm or cold.


It seems like every culture around the world has their version of rice pudding. It is a cheap yet tasty luxury which can be eaten as a desert or snack. Again, this is an example of the starchy, "stick to your ribs" fare that was popular during the Great Depression.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Corn Chowder

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 (12 fluid ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, corn, onion and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are just tender.
  2. Stir in evaporated milk and butter until butter is just melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.
History: Meat was often a luxury for many people during the Great Depression. If they didn't live on a farm and raised their own lifestock or couldn't hunt or fish for their meat, they cooked meatless meals that were starchy and filling. Corn chowder certainly fills the bill, and it's made with chicken stock, so it has a hint of a chicken taste.

Ritz Cracker Mock Apple Pie

From the Kraft Foods Web Site:

pastry for 2-crust 9-inch pie
36 RITZ Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1-3/4 cups crumbs)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Grated peel of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine


PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Roll out half of the pastry and place in 9-inch pie plate. Place cracker crumbs in crust; set aside.

MIX sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in 1-3/4 cups water until well blended. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes. Add lemon peel and juice; cool. Pour syrup over cracker crumbs. Dot with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry; place over pie. Trim; seal and flute edges. Slit top crust to allow steam to escape.

BAKE 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is crisp and golden. Cool completely.


The Ritz Cracker was distributed nationally in 1935, during the height of The Great Depression. At the time, Ritz crackers were an affordable luxury. A box reportedly sold for 19 cents.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Share Your Recipes, and Your Great Depression Stories!

Hello, and welcome to the new Great Depression Recipes blog!

This blog grew from another blog that I write, Savvy Frugality, a blog about personal finance and frugal living. I wrote a blog post about Great Depression Recipes, and it really took on a life of its own. It is one of the most popular posts at Savvy Frugality, and I thought that since there is so much interest it is probably a subject that should have its own blog.

My grandmother lived through the Great Depression, and when I was a young boy I grew up listening to her stories about how difficult it was to live during that time. She would usually tell me about the difficulties of the Great Depression, and what her family ate to survive during that time. I remember her stories about baking bread with oatmeal because there was no flour, and feeding thistle and weeds to the cattle on her farm because there was no money for livestock feed.

Unfortunately, I never thought to write down her stories, or many of her wonderful recipes. My grandmother is no longer with us. It is my hope that others can share their parent's, grandparent's or great-grandparent's stories and recipes so that we can keep these memories alive, preserve a piece of history, and cook some tasty dishes from yesteryear.

So, please share your Great Depression-era recipes, and your family's stories from that era, and together we will all probably learn some very valuable (and delicious) lessons.

Email your Great Depression-era recipes and family stories to: savvyfrugality at (replace the word "at" with a @...just trying to thwart the spammers), and we'll feature it here on the blog, giving you full credit, of course.