Meet Nonna Maria Fiore
About Nonna Maria
Nonna Maria Fiore is from the Puglia region in southern Italy. She was born in a small town called Altamura. Like all other children in the town she went to school for a short time and then learned a trade that would eventually help her find employment in America. At 19 years old she made that difficult journey to America with her father and brother, leaving her mother and sisters behind.
The need to feed a family of seven and ensure a better life for their children required Maria’s parents, Carmenio and Rosa Tragni to make that difficult decision of immigration necessary.
Maria being the fourth of five children was the daughter chosen to take care of her father and brother in America. They arrived in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn in 1956.
The sewing trade she learned as a child enabled her to find a job as a seamstress at a local factory making men’s suits. The homemaking skills her mother taught her as a child allowed her to take care of her father and brother in the new land of America.
Her life turned into carrying the responsibilities of a wife, mother, daughter and sister. During this time she began to develop her Italian-American cooking skills. Carroll Gardens Brooklyn was like a small town in Italy. She would speak to her neighbors and friends from work about their favorite dishes and developed her own versions of these recipes.
Not long before she left for America, Nicola, a friend since childhood, asked Maria’s parents for her hand in marriage. Maria was to leave for the U.S. and so their engagement would stand to be a long distance relationship. This went on for 5 years before Maria went back to Italy to marry the love of her life. His letters to her came frequently until they married and moved to Brooklyn in 1961 and began their family starting with their daughter Maria, then Giuseppe, Carmine and Rosa. They each have gone on to create their own beautiful families giving Maria seven grandchildren to enjoy.
Today those time tried traditional recipes that she developed from friends and neighbors so many years ago are shared with her family every Sunday in Bensonhurst Brooklyn. Her influence has led one of her children into a career with one of the largest specialty food retailers in the United States. There is nothing better than eating a meal at Nonna Maria’s house!!