Member Reviews

Mary Guliani is not your average chef. She didn’t go to culinary school or slave away in a hot Manhattan restaurant kitchen for years, moving up to the head of the line. Instead, she studied acting. She took odd jobs to make ends meet. She met Robert De Niro. And then when she decided that Saturday Night Live might not be ready for her yet, she buckled down and took one of her odd jobs seriously, working at a catering company, helping to plan parties for the rich and famous.

It’s not a surprise that this job stuck, as her grandmother was a famous innkeeper on Montauk, Long Island (her hotel was the first on Montauk, actually, and she used it to build an empire). So Mary took her chutzpah and her quirkiness and her work ethic and her genetic propensity towards hospitality and her husband and started her own catering company in New York City.

It was her love of Pigs in a Blanket (aka tiny hot dogs in pastry) that helped inspire her to create fun finger foods and inventive cocktails that attracted her high end-clients. Movie stars, rock stars, and the glitterati all call her number and book her for their parties. You’d think that this would help the formerly geeky kid who worshiped the Monkees turn into an elegant, confident, sophisticated business woman. But no, just reading this memoir leaves me no doubt that she’s just as much of a quirky, playful dork (said with nothing but respect; I totally relate!) who is not afraid to let her geek flag fly. For that, she is one of my heroes. I love how she has kept her good-natured whimsy despite living in New York, despite working in very difficult and competitive industries, despite having traded in her original dream for another one (or six).

I loved reading Tiny Hot Dogs, in part because Mary Guliani is a testament to finding the best in difficult situations and in part because she is a fun, funny, honest, and open writer and mother and wife and daughter and caterer. She is who she is, and that’s enough for her. It’s also more than enough for me. And if it’s not enough for Saturday Night Live, then they should at least call her to cater all their parties. She can hook them up!

Galleys for Tiny Hot Dogs were provided by Running Press Adult through NetGalley, with many thanks.

Was this review helpful?

An interesting look at Mary Giuliani's career as a caterer to the stars.
She shares hilarious anecdotes of meeting various celebrities and stories of her growing up years interspersed with snacks she serves at her fancy do's.
Brutally honest all the way through and she includes the low points of her life and career and all the high points.
There are also many valid philosophical points that she makes that makes a person take stock of things in your own life.
A delightful read.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me the chance to read this book.

Was this review helpful?

In "Tiny Hot Dogs", celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani provides a lighthearted but memorable look at her Italian American childhood, unlikely career path, and the challenges she experienced while building her family. While the memoir as a whole feels a bit disjointed, Giuliani has a gift for capturing colorful detail.

Was this review helpful?

This is a fun collection of stories from Mary Giuliani, the caterer to the stars. She's funny, she's easy to relate to, she writes exactly how she talks. I found that her stories of her Grandpa and her dad were the most relatable.

Also - recipes are included! I MAY have save every single one.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Was this review helpful?

This seemed like a memoir that would be right up my alley since I love food, pop culture, and life stories. Somehow, this writing just didn't resonate with me. I couldn't establish an emotional connection with the writer. I tried to continue reading, hoping it would engage me later, but I finally set the book aside.

Their wasn't anything technically wrong with the writing and this story may very well resonate with other readers. If you think you might like it, give it a try! There is certainly nothing wrong with it, just not my cup of tea.

Was this review helpful?

I’m a sucker for memoirs, and even though we can most agree that giving a bad rating on a memoir makes us uneasy (it is someone’s life!), the writing is what will keep me interested.

This was a good one. Mary’s stories about trying to make it in showbiz and failing and finding her career path and new passion in the catering world was inspiring. And awesome recipes for party food!

Highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley, author and publisher for providing a fre copy if this book.

Was this review helpful?

I had no idea who Mary Giuliani was. I'm not a wealthy person or a celebrity who would have used her catering services. Nor am I a TV watcher, so I would never have seen her on Rachel Ray or wherever she might have appeared. I had no idea she had written another book. Basically she was not on my radar at all. Well, shoot, I'm so glad I found her and this hilarious, sweet little memoir! I laughed out loud multiple times. I appreciated her simple, yet unique and fun recipes throughout. And mostly, I loved that she referenced one of my favorite movies, Baby Boom. Sold! Highly recommend if you're looking for a book with heart and humor.

Was this review helpful?

Memoirs are not my norm but I love cookbooks. Therefore, I thought I would give this one a try. I absolutely loved it! Her reminiscent stories were great....those of growing up as a Catholic, learning traditions of the Jewish faith and stories of her family in general. I especially enjoyed her mothers rules. Some were rather amusing, but many were honest and heartfelt. She told her "a man is attracted to the smell of basil, so use it in everything you cook." But then she also told her to marry for love and nothing else. The basil one "may" be good advice (I've never tried it) but I know the one about marrying for love is.

I'm so glad I gave this book a try. It's one I can definitely see myself re-reading. I know I will refer back to some of the recipes. It was such a pleasant surprise!

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Mary Giuliani’s memoir Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites intrigued me because I love talking about food as much as I love reading. Just yesterday I had a friend over for coffee and when she left my husband remarked, “You spoke about food for two hours straight…”

Giuliani owns a catering/events business that has a long list of A-list celebrities as its clients. She grew up nearish to New York in a predominately Jewish neighbourhood which she managed to intertwine with her own strong Italian Catholic background. The opening of the book felt a little lost on me at times and I wonder, in part, if this is due to having a vastly different cultural/geographical upbringing. I didn’t always get the references and whilst they were sometimes explained, I still felt a bit lost. I grew up in a small suburb on the coast in New South Wales, Australia. I largely didn’t watch American shows growing up, in part because there weren’t that many when I was a child, and also because my parents, and father in particular, thought that American culture was ruining Australia. I felt like at times in Giuliani’s novel that I was sure it was funny, I just wasn’t sure how.

Giuliani’s memoir is punctuated with recipes and often times these recipes complement the stories in the chapter. The recipes look great and I am tempted to try a few myself. Although, to be honest, reading some of these Italian recipes with a tomato allergy makes me nervous. But the memoir is not really the story of a woman who always loved cooking and throwing parties. It is more the story of a woman who found her way through life in not the most obvious directions. Giuliani talks about her love of acting and how she tried for many years to be a star. With some inspiration of her once-famous father, Giuliani tries her luck at acting and falls into catering as more of a day job. When she meets chef, Daniel Mattrocce she learns that she could perhaps have something more. As Giuliani puts it:

“Her call was a wake up call about the dreams you think you need to fulfill and the dreams you don’t realize are swirling around your subconscious.”
p. 63

The idea of always being focused on a goal or always working towards something specific is something taught to us from a very young age. It is seen as an extremely positive attribute to follow things through till the end. To reach success, always. Yet, the older I get the more I wonder if our tunnel-vision attitudes toward success stop us from being the type of successful we actually want to be. If Giuliani never took on the advice of Mattrocce, would she have written the book she has; experienced the life she has; met Robert De’Nero? Taking a look out the corner of your eye could change your life in the best possible way.

There are little gems all throughout Giuliani’s memoir and it is as much about funny celebrity stories and stripper birthdays as it is about real and raw life experiences that shape you or break you. Giuliani’s discussions of having endometriosis and fertility problems which affected her career, relationships, and mental health are extremely brave at a time when women’s health is still largely treated as hysterics rather than a real problem. She talks about her 18-day and 14-week pregnancies that ended with miscarriages and finally meeting her daughter Gala Lee via a surrogate.

Overall, there are some really giggle-worthy moments like the murder of Tenille the turtle by her lover, Captain juxtaposed with gut wrenching personal stories of sadness and loss. The memoir is very Nora-Ephron-esque, which is never a bad thing in my books. I do sometimes wish that the narrative had a better red-thread because at times I felt things were rushed or jumped around a little. To sum up the success and triumphs of Giuliani’s memoir in her own words:

“[P]eople will leave, people will hurt you, people will move on, but you’ve done your job well—and by “well” I mean helped them find their wings—then all you can feel is proud when it’s their turn to fly.

Are you excited for the April 2019 publication of Mary Giuliani’s memoir “Tiny Hot Dogs”? Do you like memoirs that offer some bite-sized life advice with some killer meatball recipes? As always share the reading love.

NOTE: This memoir was was accessed through Netgalley and Running Press Adult.

Was this review helpful?

I could relate to the era author referring, but other than that couldn’t get into the book.

Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

Was this review helpful?

Hilarious from the first pages when Mary shares how her family was one of the only Italians in a neighborhood that was Jewish.She went to over a hundred bar& barmitzvahs and fell in love with a staple mini hot dogs in pastry.She went to Hebrew school with her best friend and learned her portion of the haftorah &recited it in her kitchen,Mary is honest open real the caterer to the stars loved this book.#netgalley #tinyhotdogs #perseus books

Was this review helpful?