Meet Nonna Dena Vitale
About Nonna Dena
My name is Dena (Petruzzi)Vitale my mother’s family is from a town called Partanna, in the province of Trapani, Sicily. My fathers family is from the province of Avellino in the Campania region. With that being said, I grew up in a wonderful Italian family rich in pride and culture that was to be handed down from generation to generation.
My neighborhood as a child was amazing I lived in a neighborhood that was 100% Italian-American. It was very safe and everyone looked out for one another. In my family, cooking and baking wasn’t only a rite of passage, it was a way of life! It is something I’ve had a passion for since I was very young.
I met my husband Anthony when I was 15 yrs old at our local Italian grocery store. We married when I was 18 yrs old and had two beautiful children, Joseph and Gina and three even more beautiful grandchildren, Anthony 12, Milania 7 and Mia, 4. They are my life! I try and keep all our traditions and teach them all a little something about their heritage and I do it by cooking. Each one of them has their own fag recipe that I make. Milania’s favorite cookie I make are my Anisette biscotti. Anthony loves my meatballs and Mia loves the way I make my Pastina. I try to cook with love and pride and always praise my Mom, Rose who I lost at a young age. She taught me so much and so did my Nonni who never used a recipe. She had it all in her head and hands. I thank my father Marco who I lost also at a very young age for teaching me to appreciate Italian music and how food and drink should be presented. It’s in my blood this thing I have for cooking, it comes naturally to me.