Inspired by the stories of her Italian American mother-in-law, Angelina Culotta, Mrs. Wilson undertook Louisiana's Italians, Food, Recipes, and Folkways thirty years ago as a way to preserve Ms. Culotta's ethnic and religious pride for future generations. She was so inspired by collecting and documenting original Italian recipes, stories, and traditions for this book that she built a mud oven in order to bake her own authentic Italian bread at home!
In addition to her interest in
Louisiana's cultural history, Mrs. Wilson's personal interests include cooking and baking, heirloom sewing, collecting antique linens and lace, and writing for preschool children. Her other books include St. Charles Parish, A Brief Look at the Past, Mam Papaul's Country Creole Basket, and Now You're Cooking
Mrs. Wilson earned her bachelor's degree in home economics education in 1964 at the University of Southwestern Louisiana and her master of science degree in family life and child development at Louisiana State University in 1967. She has taught home economics at the
high-school level and has been a kindergarten and Head Start teacher. Since 1972, she has been president of Louisiana Gourmet Enterprises, Inc., a
family-owned business that manufactures Cajun-Creole dinner mixes and specialty gourmet cake and frosting mixes under the Mam Papaul brand name.
Mrs. Wilson lives in Hahnville,
Louisiana, with her husband. They are the parents of four grown children.