Writer Minnie Giraldi - Biography

November 2011

Minnie Filomena DeLuccia was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1912. During her childhood she was exposed to and influenced by her mother's cooking, mostly peasant recipes that were brought to America from the family's native Naples, Italy. In 1934, Minnie married Armand Giraldi, also a Paterson native, and for the next 35 years they worked and raised their family in their shared hometown.

Only in 1972 did Minnie and Armand Giraldi and family finally move from Paterson to Chappaqua, New York (not yet famous for housing the Clintons). Along with the Giraldi family came over a thousand old-world recipes that Minnie describes as "deceptively simple”—meaning idiosyncratic, the kind of recipes only years worth of tradition can perfect. Key ingredients for Minnie Geraldi were tantalizingly obscure—a "pinch of this and a pinch of that"—but they always led to incredible, robust, but still nuanced recipes.

A natural cook, Giraldi expanded on her southern Italian culinary heritage, modernizing it ever so slightly by with the well-known Giuliano Bugialli in Florence for a few years. Ready to take her passion to a professional level, in 1980, Giraldi started her own catering company and cooking school, called Mezzaluna. In 2000, Giraldi put together her first cookbook, Minnie's Kitchen, co-written with veteran author Jack Bishop. The book is a compilation of the delectable old-world Italian recipes that she perfected over her 88 years—the very same she and her family have enjoyed generation after generation.