About the Author

Roberta Villanova Nunn, author of Tastes and Tales of Nonna Tullia and 12 months of cakes cookbooks.

Four Generations of Recipes

Four Generations of Recipes

I’m a retired teacher of Italian, French, Spanish, and History. My mom, Tullia Battaglin, emigrated from Italy in 1951 after she married Anthony Villanova. I was the first born, therefore Italian was my first language. Tullia’s grandmother and mother inspired her love of cooking. She was the sixth child of ten who was responsible for her four young siblings and helped in meal preparation for the large family.

After starting school with exposure to American cooking, I realized the tremendous contrast with Mom’s home cooked meals. I was not expected to help with meal preparation which was clearly Mom’s domain but I set the table and gleaned a lot just by being in the kitchen. While staying out from under my mother’s feet, My cooking adventure began with baking. I found 3 paperback cookbooks in the attic of our new home, 2 of which I still use: Good Housekeeping’s Party Pie Cookbook and Cakes and Tortes published by the Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago.

While at college, I suffered eating cafeteria food, so 9 friends and I moved off campus into a rented house where we took turns preparing meals. I interviewed Mom for her most basic recipes which I wrote in a notebook entitled, Recipes by Mamma Villanova.

I later moved to the country into a rambling farmhouse where I had a large kitchen in which to cook and acres of land for gardens. I grew enough fruits, vegetables and herbs to share with Mom. With a chest freezer in both our homes, our tomato sauce was only made with fresh tomatoes and herbs. Growing rosemary, parsley, sage and basil was a must.

I wrote 12 Months of Cakes when a friend remarked how much she enjoyed viewing my cake postings on Facebook. My brother, Joe, who worked in publishing for years, designed the book, and it turned out so well, it encouraged me to write a second cookbook, Tastes & Tales of Nonna Tullia.

Roberta Villanova Nunn