About Nonna Carmen


My name is Carmen Romeo.  I know I don't have a very traditional Italian name for a woman, but my mother had an affinity for opera, especially Bizet’s Carmen and so  she named me after her favorite opera.

I was born in Milano, Italy, in the region of Lombardia. Although a good portion of my childhood was spent living in a war torn city, my mother and father always managed to put good food on the table. My parents had a small plot of which provided us with fresh vegetables, chickens, and eggs.  It is from my parents, who both cooked, that I learned my passion for food. 

Whether it be baking fresh bread, or making pasta from scratch, watching them make great meals out of what little they had was a great learing experience for me.

They were also fortunate enough to have a friend who was a butcher, and although they didn’t have any money, he would give my parents cheap cuts of meat called the shank, especially veal shank.  My parents would turn this into my favorite meal Ossobuco with Risotto alla Milanese.

Being Milanese, we also ate a lot of Polenta, which is similar to corn meal, and was abundant and cheap.  It always amazes me how food which was considered poverty food then, is now considered fine dining and expensive.

Although my parents were poor, they were rich in imagination, and made polenta with so many different flavors. Many of them coming straight from our own garden.  I learned through them that you did not have to have a lot of money to make great food, just a little plot of land, and a lot of imagination.

So now here I am, old in number, but young in spirit, and still love to cook. I have six grandchildren, two boys, 19 and 20, who always seem to be in the kitchen when nonna is cooking. Two girls 8 and 9, who love having their own cooking classes with nonna. My youngest granddaughters who are 2 and 1, are already learning to love nonna’s cooking.  When I look back at my life, I realize some of the greatest times have been spent sitting around the dinner table, eating, talking and laughing.  I think that’s why I still love to cook, because it means time with the family, and through my cooking I can express my love for them.



Enjoy Nonna Carmen's Videos:

(Click on the Photo or on the Season/Webisode number to view the Video)

Season 2 - Webisode #1

Rossella Rago and Nonna Carmen Romeo

Region: Lombardia

Recipe: Ossobuco in Gremolata

Season 2 - Webisode #3

Rossella Rago and Nonna Carmen Romeo

Region: Lombardia

Recipe: Risotto alla Milanese


Enjoy Nonna Carmen's Recipes:

Nonna Carmen Romeo