Clara’s Great Depression POORMAN’S MEAL & Potato Peel Chips | HARD TIMES


Hello, my beautiful lovelies! It’s Emmy. Welcome back to another episode of Hard Times where I explore food and recipes from times of food scarcity. So today I’m going to be revisiting our dear friend Clara and her Great Depression recipes. If you haven’t seen or met Clara, I shall put a link down below to her channel. And Clara, of course, has since passed but her legacy lives on through these videos and recipes. And today I am going to be making her Poor Man’s Meal. So this recipe comes from a time in American history where things were not available. There was no money. There was not a lot of food. But Clara said there were a lot of potatoes. Her father would buy sacks and sacks of potatoes. And they ate potatoes in all different ways. So Clara was no different than many of our grandmothers. She doesn’t include any recipe amounts She kind of just goes by feel. So I’m gonna give you my rough estimate of what she used. So here are three very large Yukon Gold potatoes. In her video, she uses Russet potatoes, I believe. She doesn’t say, but based on what they look like, they look like Russet potatoes, but I happen to have these on hand, so I don’t think Clara would mind if I use these. So first things first, we’re going to peel them using a vegetable peeler. So I’m gonna save these peels — I’m going to use them in another recipe. I’m going to make potato skin crisps, or chips. And this is a recipe for wartime rationing. And Clara shares while she’s peeling the potatoes that even if the potatoes were bad they’d still use them. They’d just cut away the bad portion, and just used the remaining because nothing went to waste Clara said that she didn’t finish high school because she didn’t have socks. She couldn’t afford clothing. So she stopped going to school. This is the episode where Clara also shares a story of her garden, and a neighbor who came with a shopping bag, and decided it was okay to take food from her garden without asking. Clara even says that if she had asked, she would have just given her the food. But just to go in to take people’s things without asking, without putting in any work. That was just insulting. Okay, so three potatoes — I’m going to reserve these skins. And now we’re going to cube these into about half inch pieces. I normally cube my potatoes like this — slice them with my big knife; and then, you know, make sticks; and then crosswise, to get cubes. But what I noticed Clara doing in the video was she actually used a small knife, and she would cut directly into her pan. So just using a paring knife like this, she would just cut directly into the pan like that. I don’t know if it would just save countertop space — and just cook cutting directly into a pan? But I thought I’d try that a technique. It works just fine. You don’t want the knife to be too sharp, because I think you would cut your thumb pretty easily. I guess a lot of people could be doing this at the same time, too — if you’re…got a whole bunch of people helping to make dinner — not a whole bunch of people, but just an assistant/sous chef to kind of just help you cut up the potatoes. You could both cut into the pan Nice! So I’m going to do this for all three potatoes…. So something that I noticed in Clara’s video is that she put everything into a cold pan. The pan is not heated; she doesn’t out any oil in it; she just puts the potatoes and the onions in a cold pan; adds some oil; and then heats it up. So, I’m gonna do it just as she does. So there are my potatoes…. Medium heat now; and add some oil; she puts quite a lot of oil in her potatoes; and that’s probably part of the reason why it tastes so good. So I probably glugged in there a good three or four tablespoons of oil. And like here potatoes, she cut the onions directly into the pan as well. Maybe I will use the entire onion — there’s a lot of potatoes in there. Okay. Stir this. Make sure everything is coated with oil. I’m going to add another glug of oil, cuz I think the trick is not…. to put too little oil. Otherwise potatoes will stick. I’m using a heavy cast iron pan for this — thought it would be appropriate for a Great Depression recipe. Although I love cast iron, If you have any questions about cast iron, I do have a cast iron video about how to take care of it; how to restore it; and I’ll put that link down below in case you missed that episode. Alright, so I’m just gonna let that cook. So while that continues to fry, I’m gonna slice up my hot dogs; and Clara cuts them very, very thinly — make sense cuz you want to stretch out the meat. She cut them in just little coins. So we’re gonna allow the potatoes and the onions to caramelize a bit and brown before we add the hot dogs. The hot dogs, of course, are already cooked. They don’t need any time really to cook; they’ll brown up a little bit, but mostly we’re just cooking their potatoes here. So while the potatoes and onions are cooking, I’m going to take the potato skins that we reserved, and I’m going to make chips, or crisps. I found this recipe from Granny Doris — I’ll put the link down below if you are interested in seeing that. So on a baking sheet, I’m going to use a little bit of parchment paper, and I’m going to put a little bit of oil; And then I’m going to distribute my peels. Okay. The oven is heating…. And I’m gonna toss them for good measure to make sure everything is coated. And we’re going to be making crisps, as they call them in the UK, or chips as we call them here in the US. It’s going to be a little snack. Okay. Now we’re going to liberally salt these with a little bit of kosher salt, and pepper. Now we’re gonna pop these into a four hundred degree oven and let them bake about ten minutes, or until they’re nice and crispy. All right. Here we go. So the potatoes have been cooking now for about ten to twelve minutes, and they’re softening up. And now I’m going to add a little bit of water… to help them cook a little bit more. So, at this point, I’m also going to add the hot dogs. Friendly with the potatoes…. Clara also adds a little bit of tomato sauce as well. This is just right out of a jar. She said it’d help give it a little sauce. My potatoes are tender… And we are done. So, in a skillet, that took about a half an hour to cook. Time to tuck into the Poor Man’s Meal! All righty here it is! Looking beautiful! Can’t wait to taste this. This goes out to you Clara — the Poor Man’s Meal. Get a little bit of hot dog; a little bit of onion; everything on that. All right. Itadakimasu! Mm-hmm. And that’s delicious. Mm-hm. Soft potatoes — whoops! *oven timer beeping* Soft, well-cooked potatoes that are a little bit caramelized; onions have caramelized completely and so they’re nice and sweet; need to get a little bit of hot dog in there both for protein, but a little bit of smokiness as well. Basically this meal is a dish of home fries — something that you might find out a greasy spoon, or a diner. Except they probably wouldn’t put hot dogs, would they? It’s good, but I think one thing that would make it even better…. is a little bit of hot sauce. So I’m gonna do that, ‘cuz this reminds me of breakfast and I love hot sauce on my breakfast. Mm-hmm. Potatoes. Hot sauce. Mmm! YUM! So there you have it: Clara’s Poor Man’s Meal. Absolutely delicious! All right, so here are the potato skin chips and they have… toasted very nicely. And they’ve crisped up. I put these in a four hundred degree oven for about fifteen minutes. And they look lovely. Be careful not to overcook them. They are very, very, very thin because there are potato skin peelings, after all. All right. Let’s give those a go! Delicious! Very pleasantly thin and crisp: similar to a potato chip, but a little bit different. Not as like shatteringly crisp, but crisp nonetheless. They have a delicious potato earthy flavor; nicely seasoned with salt and pepper. Delicious! The one drawback is that there is a good amount of oil in this, and this would be definite extra calories, but I love the idea of not letting things go to waste: the frugality. Love that! Makes us appreciate what we’ve got, right? Mm. That was a really crisp one. Nice. So there you have it: another Hard Times episode; another lovely Clara recipe. Let me know in the comments down below if there any other recipes you’d like me to taste: Clara, or historical, or otherwise. I am having so much fun with this series, because I’m learning so much about the human existence; the fortitude; the resourcefulness; the human will and soul that goes into survival; and making do. Love it. Love it. It’s inspiring. Alright, I hope you guys enjoyed that one! I hope you guys learned something. Share this video with your friends; follow me on social media; and I shall see you in my next one. Toodaloo! Take care. Bye! So attractive.

About the author

Comments

  1. In Sweden we call this "pytt i panna". But we make it with cubed cheap meat and you eat it with eggs and beets. Not the greatest food. But perfect when the money is low. Then we eat pytt i panna and ramen noodles 😂

  2. I’m just now discovering you and I love you so much already! I’ve lived in West Virginia with my very poor family my entire life and many of these recipes are things that I’ve either had or plan on having soon! You’re so humble and kind with your words though. The world needs people like you

  3. I make this all the time with a little hamburger instead of the hotdogs, and a dab of ketchup instead of tomato sauce, major comfort food

  4. My Grandma made a lot of foods out of nothing and they were always so delicious. I really love your channel and appreciate how much effort and love you put into every video <3

  5. i found a recipe a while back i cook when im broke and dont want fast food. u brown a pack of cheap hamburger meat (optional add a green bell pepper if u can afford it) once its done u drain the grease add 2 packs of ramen noodle (beef flavor) and a can of tomato of your choice, whatevers cheap or on sale. cover with enough water to cook the ramen and then add one or both of the ramen beef flavor packets depending how strong u want it. turn the heat to med low simmer it until ramen is cooked. lastly if u want top with your fav shredded cheese but also optional. Sometimes i make pizzas at home and have pepperoni in the fridge and ill toss that in with the beef to cook really adds good flavor.

  6. Hey Emmy! I’ve recently fallen in love with these videos but I keep wondering what you do with all the food once you’re done. Do you give it away? I hope you do!

  7. If you mixed in those crispy potatoe skins with the skillet taters and hotdogs, I bet it would taste fenomenal and the texture differences would be lovely.

  8. In Albania we cook this as a soup, not with hot dogs, but with whatever raw meat you've got, and if you don't have any, it's alright anyways. I grew up to that and I never saw it as a poor meal even when there was no meat in it. 😛

  9. I cut into the pan because that's how my grandmother taught me. They didnt have cutting boards. Those were luxuries not necessities.

  10. It is interesting that Clara cut with a paring knife. My grandmother used a paring knife like that too. I think my other relatives of that generation did too. Maybe that was almost the only knife they had. I have never liked to use a paring knife like that. I cut almost everything with an 8 inch knife, and on a cutting board.

  11. I'm terrible for spuds and pasta, if you got these two foods in your kitchen and on a tight budget you will never go hungry, I love my garlic and rosemary oven-baked wedges, the potatoes must be blanched first though for best results, then mix with olive oil and herbs of choice and onto an oven tray in preheated oven , these are amazing on their own or with homemade dips , I've not made them for a few months , so that's dinner sorted for tomorrow, lol, as for pasta, cold pasta salads with anything, with a mayo or homemade base is an ideal item to keep in the fridge , so cheap and easy to make , I tend to make loads when I make it , it lasts for a good while in the fridge in Tupperware ,

  12. I paid good money for stuffed potato skins in a restaurant lol, crazy I know, but they were lush. which I must try them this way soon.

  13. I'm Native American. On my reservation we call that Hound dog hash! My godfather would cook this for me everytime I went to the reservation. It was so delicious I would eat it till I got a tummy ache! Mmmm mmm mmm 😋😋😋

  14. Growing up we ate that all the time but threw in salsa(homemade of course) and used kielbasa, chorizo or ground beef … I married at 18 and had 3 kids within 4 years and of course we did struggle and we at this a lot. Now, we have grown children and are doing great and we STILL eat it! 🙂

  15. There are so many skillet meals you can make with just the staples you might have in your kitchen + leftover meat or sausage.

  16. This poorman's meal is very similar to a dish my mom always made us, growing up, but it had sausage links rather than hot dogs, no tomato sauce (though we did sometimes add a bit of maple syrup to it after it was done, if we were lucky enough to have some on-hand), and with about as much corn as potatoes and onions mixed in. To this day, it is one of my favorite dishes…

  17. I love how so many people have the same base with a little modification to the meat, cheese and sauce. But basically we are all bonded over the same meal😊❤😊

  18. My mom cooked a lot like Clara, her parents grew up in the depression. My mom also had to quit school in the 8th grade because they couldn’t afford shoes or books for her… I add pork and beans to this recipe, so yummy👍🏻

  19. Clara said in a video that she never uses a cutting board because when she learned to cook, her mother just taught her how to cut things in her hand and so she’s never used a cutting board.

  20. I watched this video last night at around 1:30am and knew that I had to make this for supper tonight. I swapped out the hotdogs for Polish Sausage. This is my wifes favorite meal and the first time I've ever tried to cook it. It came out great so I had to come back and say Thank you Emmy for making me look like a champ for my wife tonight!

  21. Cutting directly into the pan, my mom was the daughter of Italian immigrants, she did the same, Italians are big into 1pot dishes, if you don't need to clean a cutting, don't lol

  22. We host a lot of BBQ's and people always leave lots of uncooked hot dogs so I make this stew for super cheap and it's tasty! It's just sausage but it takes on a new level of heartiness with potato.

  23. In Germany we have a similar dish, it's called "Bauernfrühstück"
    You can also use bacon instead of sausages, and add cheese bits, different vegetables and eggs if you want to 😉
    The tomato sauce addition is new though! (If any, some might eat it with ketchup 😂)

  24. Loved this! My mom grew up in depression era western Kansas (dust storms) and she would tell me about a couple in their little town who made a living selling potato chips. They would buy potatoes and the husband, who was blind, would do the peeling and cutting by feel. The wife did the frying in a kettle in the backyard. Mom and her sister could buy a bag a month for a nickel. I think that started my mom's potato chip obsession! Good memories.

  25. My parents grew up in a war zone in Europe. Long after the the war and living in the States they remained frugal. There's nothing wrong with the foods that were made during WW2 and the depression. In fact in times of prosperity people still make them.

  26. My grandma would make this but substituted the hotdogs for ground pork and curry powder instead of tomato sauce. It’s so delicious!

  27. My grandmother makes something similar, but doesn't have the hotdogs or tomato in it. The potatoes are always better crispy too

  28. My husband was so poor for a year, he would hike one mile to a potato field and dig up taters from the edge and then hike back the other direction 2 1/2 miles to the onion fields and get some of those. With the little bit of money he could scrape up, he'd buy oil. He literally lived on fried potatoes. The only variety he got was from a produce stand down 1/2 mile that would sometimes let him pick over the stuff he was going to throw away. Thank the Lord potatoes are so yummy, especially fried. He still loves fried potatoes and would be happy to have them one meal a day, every day.

  29. Having grown up with grandparents Clara's age, I would imagine that her proportions had more to do with what she had, not a recipe. She probably would have used a hot dog per person at the table if she had it, and if she didn't, she'd use what she had and add potatoes to keep bellies full. The reason for cutting straight into the pan is speed. When you are making three meals a day from scratch for a large family, cutting straight into the pan saves time. She also might not have had a cutting board. She probably didn't have counters, that wasn't a thing yet. You did food prep on the table, or if you were lucky enough to have a Hoosier cupboard or dry sink, you might have used that. None of those surfaces were appropriate for cutting on, either because you didn't want to mark your furniture, or because the metal top of a Hoosier cupboard or of some tables of that era, would dull your knife.

    I loved Clara. She was Italian and my grandmother's were German, but being in the same era and the same area, she sounded and acted like my Grandma, whom I miss more than I can say. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed her too.

  30. I make something like this frequently, but I use kielbasa or a similar sausage. I also put a little bit of brown gravy mix in the cooking potatoes, seasons and helps give a nice crust. Now I know what I'm having for dinner, lol 🙂

  31. This is actually one of my mom and I’s favorite dinner 🤷🏻‍♀️☺️ we just add chopped tomato squares too with salt and pepper !

  32. I never had a name for this but my roommate and I made this all the time. Sometimes we used ground beef, and sometimes we put cheese on top.

  33. I’m so glad I found somebody that appreciates Clara’s videos as much as I do. I find them so comforting. A summer or so ago, it was my turn to show the friend group a YouTube Video and since, we have tried many of the depression cooking recipes.

  34. I was so happy when I discovered Clara's channel and learned about what it was like to live during the great depression. I make this once in awhile and it is so delicious. Thanks for honoring her memory.

  35. I call it I wish I could eat that rich I get 30 a month In food stamps and I'm wheelchair bound and waiting on a apartment 4 years now I eat only soups I don't smoke or drink or do drugs I only drink water I can't afford fruit or veggies but I do get to roll to the library from my friends house I'm living at

  36. Grandma’s of that generation don’t have cutting boards or chopping knives😉. My mom always looks at my incredulously when I chop.

  37. Yuk to hot sauce! But I've been making this for years. My parents made this but with hamburger and they were born in the depression. Clara's is great too with hot dogs and tomatoes paste.

  38. I take fruit from peoples front yard without asking

    I live in a wealthy area so I refuse to play to rich peoples ego about their property when I know damn well 80% they will let rot in their kitchen just to keep others from them

    Would never do that to a poor person, like during the depression

    But rich people can suck it, I’m taking your fruit

  39. Thank you Emmy for continuing Clara's recipes. The Great Depression was one of the most difficult times In 20th Century American History. Stretching everything you have was the way to not just survive but to enjoy. I'm old enough to have learned much about life in between 1920-1960. We are quite spoiled comparably. We have never had the hardships faced by our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents; and we take it all for granted. I believe: waste not want not. That may be old-fashioned or old of me, but if I leftovers from previous meals, I will find a way to use them. If not enough for an adequate next dinner or lunch, then a version of a Shepherds Pie.

  40. you call it poor mans meal i call it either bixemad or svensk pølseret (bixemad comes from bench food the food made from all the leftovers. svensk pølseret is sweedish sorcegemeal its when you only use potatoe sorcege butter and milk in a pot)

  41. I've sauteed potatoes like this so many times in a variety of ways, I wasn't aware that was a poor mans meal. It's so good and you can prepare it soany different ways.

  42. My mother often made this, but with small changes. Not hotdogs but she would add red pepper or whatever veggie was in the garden. Makes me kinda nostalgic of my childhood watching her make it.

  43. I'm guessing a reason during the Depression to load the frying pan with potatoes first before the heat is turned on is to save on the gas bill—because that way as much of the gas heat as possible goes immediately into cooking the food. No gas would be wasted just preheating the pan/oil and letting it 'sit there' waiting for food to be put in. The same goes for covering pots of boiling food—it's both a legitimate cooking technique and a gas-/money-saving strategy, since a covered pot conserves the heat by trapping it inside the covered pan.

  44. my gran would add left over veg and bacon to the potatoes or an egg if there was nothing else often eaten Saturday lunch

  45. Ummm…that's pan fried taters and onions…add some garlic…and continue. Poor man??? Yeah well I'm fat and sassy in the South. Depression?? Yeah…I'd be depressed f I didn't have southern cooking😂😂😂

  46. Growing up my father, who was a child during the Great Depression, made this recipe with sausage and bacon for us every Sunday morning. We all loved it. Using a cast iron pan he'd put a real sear on it unlike Emmy's version.

  47. we grew up in the 70's, on poor mans food, mainly russian poor mans food, from family members who lived through the depression, we ate a lot of cabbage, potatoes and soups. I still make these dishes today., good stuff and cheap.

  48. My family love potato bacon and onions with cheese on top. That aint a poor mans meal its the drunk food of gods

  49. Lovely, and a necessity in the UK, with low wages and benefit cuts. The poverty that was rampant during the depression is alive and kicking TODAY! It is not true that children today " do not know that they are born".

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *