Nana is 100 years old

... pizzelle making - Nana is 100 years old

by Ella Letterie

I went to a party today to celebrate the 100th birthday of Giovanna "Jennie" Loverro Ferri. Jennie is known as "Nana". Nana's birthday is June 24.

The party was held in a lovely Italian Restaurant in Medford Square. The dinner, needless to say, was strictly Italian, as were the desserts. The cake was in three pieces, actually it was three cakes.. one was a big number one and the other two were big zeros.. Get it? 100. There were a multitude of friends and family to honor Nana at this wonderful occasion. Nana has a sister, Domenica, who is 90 years old and came from New York to be with all of us.

Jennie's family lived in Bari, which is at the ankle section of Italy. This is a region surrounded by mountains. Jennie was the third child of seven born to the Loverro family. The father was a coppersmith, and decided that they would all go to America. He came to America by himself to get everything in order. While he was here, an accident happened. A younger sister named Grazielle was blinded when a basin containing lye exploded in her face. She was about 9 years old at the time. The father returned to Italy and stayed there.

When Jennie was about 19 years old, she asked her father if she could go to America. He said "No" but Jennie came anyway. She married Umberto "Albert" Ferri when she was 23 years old and had two daughters, Anna and Vilma. Up until the age of retirement, Jennie worked as a raincoat stitcher. Albert died in 1982 of Parkinson Disease.

Jennie's fame comes from her cooking, eggplant parmesan, artichokes, pasta, broccoli rabe, ricotta gnocchi, spinach ravioli, and always pasta e fagioli. The pastry would include ricotta pie and PIZZELLE !!!  

Jennie's Pizzelle recipe follows:

6 eggs    
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2/3 stick margarine
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar.
Add the melted margarine.
Add the vanilla.
Sift together the flour and baking powder, and add to the egg mixture, stirring until absorbed.

Heat the pizzelle iron until hot (approximately 15 minutes).

Drop a small ball of dough into the center of the iron. Close the lid and wait 20 seconds. The dough should be cooked and golden brown when the lid is lifted. Remove from the grid. It should be light and flaky. Sprinkle confectionery sugar on top. Store in airtight container to keep crisp.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Happy eating!                    
July 2, 1999

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