Mary Giuliani’s charming memoir, Tiny Hot Dogs,weaves together a collection of hilariously relatable essays detailing her winding path through makeshift kitchens and catering gigs to wind up at the center of the party.
With an easy, natural storytelling sensibility, Mary recounts her path to becoming one of New York City’s most high-profile food entrepreneurs, dubbed “Caterer to the Stars” by the press, as she counts gleaming trays of pigs in a blanket as a crucial ingredient in her recipe for success, in building both a business and a family.
Beginning with a totally normal childhood spent with her loving and deeply overprotective Italian family in an all-Jewish enclave on Long Island, we see a self-proclaimed “outsider” trying to fit in. Mary shares the twists and turns that land her in an unexpected catering job, for which she is perfectly suited (even though she has dreams of the stage). Her side gig turns out to be unexpectedly fulfilling, and changes her life.
In growing into her catering career, Mary walks through hilarious celebrity encounters, devastating personal losses, and a hard-scrabble climb to success, through which she maintains a tight hold on her
optimism and entirely relatable nature. Though she easily moves in and out of star-studded circles and has earned the trust and loyalty of New York’s high-rolling class, she remains the same self-deprecating Catholic girl from New Jersey who wants nothing more than to have a bat mitzvah like all her friends.
The reader cannot help rooting for “the girl with the tiny hot dogs,” excited to see where each shiny, silvery tray of hors d’oeuvres takes her next. As joyful observers, we ultimately revel in her realization that serving the gang instead of joining them may just be one of life’s greatest recipes.