Meet Nonna Gisa Ferro
About Nonna Gisa
My name is Gisa Iacopino Ferro and I was born in Reggio Calabria (Italy).
I am the youngest of 7 children and was put to work at a very young age. I worked the fields with my mom picking olives with my bare hands and lots of other crops produced in our lands each season.
At the age of 14 I emigrated for the first time and moved to Rome with my older sister in search of better opportunities.
This is when I started cooking. My sister would go out to work and leave me home to cook the meals. It didn't come easy to me at first but with time I became quite a good cook!
At 16 I got married to Domenico Ferro and moved into our own apartment. As time went on I got better and better at cooking and people raved about my food! I had my first son at the age of 18, and by the time I was 23 I had three children and was busy all day taking care of them and our home.
In 1972 I emigrated for the second time when we made the BIG MOVE to New York, in the USA. As soon as I arrived in the US I got right into working. I got a job making dresses at a factory and managed to work all day and then cook and clean and take care of the family at night. However, at all times, I insisted that everyone in the house speak Italian.
At 33 years old I had my fourth child, quit my job and stayed home to take care of her. After living in the Bronx for 6 years we moved to Westchester County and I was able to get a job working from home. I LOVED to entertain and have family parties, cooking was my passion! Life however wasn't always so happy, being so far away from my mom and siblings has been very hard on me, especially when my mom passed away and had to fly there in a super rush!
I finally retired at the age of 60 and I’m still BUSY cooking meals for the family. I love to prepare big meals and package them up for my children to take home.
I now reside in upstate NY with my husband and my daughter and her family. I am happy to have passed on the tradition of Italian cooking to both of my daughters and they too enjoy cooking and entertaining just as much as I did! I am pleased to say that I still have all of my children around me for the Holidays and the Traditions carry on with all the family favorites, even the Italian speaking is still being used on a daily basis. I have 12 BEAUTIFUL Grandchildren that I adore and I’m very happy to be so loved by them all!