About Nonna Maria
Maria Nibaldi, the daughter of Vincenza and Giovanni, was born in a small town of central Italy surrounded by beautiful mountains called Frosolone. This region is known for its pasta and varied cheeses. Maria was the third child out of five. She grew up in a household where life evolved around family values and traditions. Working the fields and attending to the family's farm every day was hard work, but ensured the highest quality of food, since just about everything they ate was grown and raised by the family.
Most of the food was cooked over a huge fire, and the bread was made in a special oven. Maria would walk to the mercato which was about 3 miles away and held twice a week. She would pick up items such as sugar, salt, or perhaps cutlery or glassware. She married a handsome soldier, Michelino Nibaldi, also from the same town whose father, Gennaro was also a cook.
They remained in town and opened a small shop, selling salt, tobacco and various goods. After their son, Gennaro and daughters, Vincenzina and Giovanna, Maria's mother asked that she and her family come to America. Her mother was originally born in Pennsylvania but moved back to Italy, where she raised her family then moved back to the U.S. Maria and her husband made the decision to leave their life in Italy and embark on a journey to America. After ten days of travel by boat, they arrived in the U.S. in 1968 and made their home in Newark, New Jersey. Although life was extremely different from her original Italy, the importance of family, traditions and good food remained. Mostly everything had to be bought now, so having at least a garden was crucial, and continues to this day. Maria has continued other traditions from Italy at different times of the season suh as making her own tomato sauce, making wine, pickeling vegetables and mushrooms. After a few short years in the U.S. and a fourth child, Rosanna, Maria and her husband moved to Kearny and opened a deli in town, offering fresh produce, home made hot and cold foods. At this time most of Maria's family, sister Michelle, brother Domenick and some cousins were also living nearby. It was important for the families to gather for holidays or special occasions and of course make LOTS of great food!
Maria still cooks her delicious simple dishes and oversees her children and grandchildren, Michelino, Gennaro, Adrianna, Jaimie and Gabriella, who now take a great interest in keeping and making her region's special recipes. Good food and cooking has always been the foundation for family unity and tradition in the Nibaldi household and continues today.
Enjoy Nonna Maria's Recipes: