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Blood, bones & butter : the inadvertent…
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Blood, bones & butter : the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef (edition 2011)

by Gabrielle Hamilton (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
923789,474 (3.8)51
Member:wyvernfriend
Title:Blood, bones & butter : the inadvertent education of a reluctant chef
Authors:Gabrielle Hamilton (Author)
Info:London : Chatto & Windus, 2011.
Collections:Library Loans, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:non-fiction, biography, chef, cooking, library, read, 2012, pp

Work details

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

2011 (21) 2012 (10) ARC (6) audio (9) audiobook (10) autobiography (19) biography (30) biography/memoir (4) chef (53) cookbook (6) cooking (79) divorce (7) ebook (8) family (12) food (99) food writing (25) Italy (39) Kindle (13) marriage (8) memoir (154) New York (15) New York City (21) non-fiction (94) Prune (6) read (8) read in 2011 (12) relationships (5) restaurants (29) to-read (33) 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 51 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
This began wonderfully, but at some point long before the middle, I just gave up. It can't compete for storytelling with Kitchen Confidential, or Ruth Reichl's wonderful Tender at the Bone. Where was the editor? Hamilton's memoir could have been trimmed by a third, and focused more tightly on the actual preparation of food, not to mention other people in her life, including her parents, who seem more interesting than Hamilton herself. I just didn't care about her inner dilemmas or by now well-worn punk outlook as much as she thought I should, ultimately. Too bad. Being an "industry" vet, I wanted to like it better. ( )
  CSRodgers | May 28, 2014 |
A foodie book not just for foodies, Gabrielle Hamilton nails her memoir. Simply nails it. Her unconventional childhood, her subsequent untethered adolescence via divorce, her backpacking young adulthood, and hard labors in kitchens throughout New York City, Michigan, and back to NYC to open her own restaurant, finally circling back to an unconventional marriage and motherhood makes this memoir absolutely riveting. Her honest, raw, funny, and painful memories are always told with a sharp knife - there are no dull edges here - leaving us to wonder about our own paths taken and not taken. She is extraordinarily interesting, whether writing about her 20 year estrangement from her mother or writing about eggplants. I hope this isn't her last foray into writing: she's just too damn good. And when in NYC, procure a seat at her famed restaurant Prune in the East Village. Her passion for food and for conveying experiences into her honest, pure, and "salt-of-the-earth" menu are an experience not to be missed, I'm sure. ( )
  Mad.River.Librarian | Apr 23, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (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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We threw a party.
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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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