CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports that back then, her family ate what they could afford, or did without.
"Every night was pasta," Cannucciari recalls. "When we got sauce, that was on Sunday."
There was also a lot of egg drop soup eaten in her childhood Chicago home. The two ingredients: eggs and water.
Now Clara's Depression Meals, which on average cost 50 cents a serving, are a surprise hit on the Internet.
The 93-year-old shares a lifetime of savings tricks on her Web videos, along with family memories. In the first episode she explains that for one dish, "We would turn off the gas and let it cook on its own heat so we could save money."
Her Webisodes include pasta (of course), potatoes and stale bread with water and oil.
Cannucciari says, "We went through a lot of hard times." She thinks today's generation is a bunch of whiners in comparison.
CBS News brought her grandson, Chris Cannucciari, along for an interview. He first taped her for the family and then posted the videos online.
Explaining his grandmother's newfound fame, he says, "People started searching the word 'depression' a lot, and the cooking show came up. People saw it, liked it and kept watching."
Chris then created a Facebook page, and a blog for Clara's worldwide fans to let her know what they think.
Cannucciari says she doesn't like the spotlight much, but a new generation is soaking up every word.