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Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent…

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef (edition 2012)

by Gabrielle Hamilton

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905None9,726 (3.8)49
Title:Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef
Authors:Gabrielle Hamilton
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:To Read First, Your library, To read
Tags:Science nature

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Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

2011 (20) 2012 (10) ARC (6) audio (8) audiobook (10) autobiography (18) biography (28) chef (53) cookbook (6) cooking (79) divorce (7) Early Reviewers (5) ebook (7) family (12) food (98) food writing (25) Italy (38) Kindle (13) marriage (8) memoir (150) New York (14) New York City (21) non-fiction (91) Prune (6) read (8) read in 2011 (12) relationships (5) restaurants (29) to-read (29) wishlist (5)
  1. 00
    Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christiensen (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: Food memoirs that both start out with the authors' relationships to their mothers and childhood family mealtimes.
  2. 00
    Under the Tuscan sun by Frances Mayes (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Under the Tuscan Sun is a dreamier book, gentler and more idealistic than the rough-and-tumble and sometimes drug-soaked Blood, Bones & Butter, but both authors adore Italy and are lavish at showing their love on the pages.
  3. 00
    Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Right, so the story Blood, Bones & Butter took a hard left turn to big city living after childhood but the writing style was as honest and uncompromising and as full of food as Little Heathens.
  4. 00
    Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (MyriadBooks)
  5. 00
    Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (VenusofUrbino)
    VenusofUrbino: Hamilton's Prune is basically the same thing as Ezra's Homesick Restaurant.

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» See also 49 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Hamilton is the chef-owner Prune, one of New York City’s most celebrated restaurants. In this memoir, she describes her rough-and-tumble beginnings in the food industry and in life. She has a refreshingly off-beat perspective on love, family and the pursuit of pleasure. All of these things, along with her non-traditional career path, coalesce in her approach to food and eating. Be forewarned, Hamilton was no angel in her early years. ( )
  samanthadeirdre | Sep 5, 2013 |
This was a very readable, well written food memoir. Gabrielle Hamilton has very strong opinions and I found her perspective to be quite entertaining and right on. For the first half of the book, I was completely smitten with every word and I didn't want it to end. But by the second half, she sort of veers off in a different direction, and the narrative weakens a bit, I thought. Still a great read, though. Refreshingly unsentimental. ( )
  KristySP | Apr 21, 2013 |
Never google the author of a memoir if you want to have a bias-free reading experience. I googled Gabrielle Hamilton and throughout Blood, Bones, and Butter, whenever she mentioned her sister Melissa, I couldn't help wondering how Hamilton could betray someone who was there for her as much as Melissa was by having an affair with Melissa's husband. It colored my opinion of Hamilton as a person and I wish I'd never conducted that search.

Blood, Bones, and Butter is prettily written, although the author does some confusing jumping around within her personal timeline and changes tenses in weird places a couple of times. She tells some gross anecdotes that in another voice would sound way too "HI I'M SUPPOSED TO BE SHOCKING!" but they don't read that way at all in this book -- they're just Hamilton discussing another bit of her life that happened to be pretty nasty.

I really enjoyed reading about her dad's parties (Hamilton tells a good story, especially when it involves food) and her interesting and strange childhood, and how she climbed her way up to where she is today, but when the narrative got closer to the present, it became an angry little ode to bitterness.

I mean, I get it, this is supposed to be unflinchingly honest and REAL, but it wasn't the same kind of honesty as in the first half of the book; it was tinged with cold anger, and the anger is never really EXPLAINED, which makes it hard for me to understand why, for example, Hamilton stays away from her mother for twenty years and then acts like a sullen teenager when she does visit her. There are glimpses of the root of her bitterness every now and then, but they're fleeting. Maybe I was supposed to read between the lines or something, but I'm never very good at that.

On the plus side, it sounds like any affection that may have been displaced by anger has been transferred to food. Hamilton comes off as snobbish when it comes to food -- some of it's understandable, some of it's is the stuff eye rolls are made of -- but she also sounds like she knows her stuff, and she writes about food in a hungry-making way. I wouldn't want to live with her, but I'd love to eat her food. ( )
2 vote karinnekarinne | Apr 3, 2013 |
Warning: this book will alternately make you hungry and make you want to throw up, sometimes on the same page. She certainly has a gift for sensory description!
Gorgeous, gorgeous writing, but I think there was either too much or too little about her personal life, especially the part about her marriage. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |

It's not that this wasn't a good and well written book, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting more about her restaurant, Prune, but it was more about her life with a smaller emphasis on the food in her life. ( )
  pam.enser | Apr 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Though Ms. Hamilton’s brilliantly written new memoir, “Blood, Bones & Butter,” is rhapsodic about food — in every variety, from the humble egg-on-a-roll sandwich served by Greek delis in New York to more esoteric things like “fried zucchini agrodolce with fresh mint and hot chili flakes” — the book is hardly just for foodies. Ms. Hamilton, who has an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, is as evocative writing about people and places as she is at writing about cooking, and her memoir does as dazzling a job of summoning her lost childhood as Mary Karr’s “Liars’ Club” and Andre Aciman’s “Out of Egypt” did with theirs.
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This book is dedicated to all of my families--the one I come from, the one I married into, the one I am making with my own children, and the one I cook with every day at the restaurant. You are my blood, my bones, and, for sure, my sweet butter.
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The chef of New York's East Village Prune restaurant presents an unflinching account of her search for meaning and purpose in the food-central rural New Jersey home of her youth, marked by a first chicken kill, an international backpacking tour and the opening of a first restaurant.… (more)

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