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Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent…

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

by Gabrielle Hamilton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3531048,684 (3.7)67
  1. 00
    Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture by Dana Goodyear (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  2. 00
    Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World's Riskiest Business by Matt Lee (DetailMuse)
  3. 00
    Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christensen (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: Food memoirs that both start out with the authors' relationships to their mothers and childhood family mealtimes.
  4. 00
    Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy 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.
  5. 00
    Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (MyriadBooks)
  6. 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.
  7. 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 67 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
I loved the parts about food and childhood and setting up her restaurant, but cringed at her bad relationships and marriage. I usually have trouble with the narcissism of memoirs and by the end, it had started to overshadow the good parts. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
MMD rec.

A chef memoir. A good one, not all about food and how it’s prepared. Interesting to read about her background - dishwashing and barmaid stints and catering jobs - supporting herself, not being trained at an institution. How her appreciation for finer food blew open in Michigan at her friend Misty’s. Misty who was the catering chef cooking such mundane and predictable stuff, had an amazing home garden and curiosity about food.

I’m glad that this wasn’t just about food, but I’m not sure what else it’s about. At the end we’re at a crossroads - probably she’s accepted that she can’t stay married to Michele anymore. She seems to have stopped trying to become one of his family, knowing that she is just wired differently. She’d rather do new things and not go to the same villa every summer and watch it fade into disrepair.

But her rage is such a waste. She has so much energy and she uses it to accomplish so much and yet notices (keeps score?) how little the others are doing. How her husband makes little effort to meet her needs.

I was confused about her sexuality. She is living with women, yet marries Michele and bears two sons. How did that happen? Maybe it’s too private, I get that. But there’s a lot about her marriage in the book, and that was pretty personal. ( )
  BeckiMarsh | Jan 3, 2019 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this always honest sometimes poignant account of Gabrielle Hamilton's life as a chef, mother and wife. Her descriptions of the annual three week vacation to Italy were wonderful and I have meaning to see if she has written a cookbook based on the food she learned to cook while there. ( )
  Darragh4444 | Oct 22, 2018 |
An interesting and enjoyable read. I had no expectations going into this book, knowing neither the author nor having read anything about her or her past. Simply put, I was seeking gastroliterature and my only scepticism was whether this would be another disguised cookbook, or a self-mastubatory celebration of the author's career and exploits ... it wasn't. In fact, it turns ouyt to be a wonderful view of an individual and her progression through life via a set of windows. The writing has a clear voice and slightly verbose style that is nonetheless quite engaging. Her portrayal of her life, her career, and her family are unapologetically from her own perspective and without too much of that romanticism rife in most memoir writing ... though the last third of the book does tend towards indulging in towards this goal, though it is balanced with the harshness of her own self-realisations. This is definitively a memoir, and a well written one, but her mastery of the voice offers glimpses into the many different worlds of cooking - the home kitchen, the parties, the commercial kitchens, the catering world, the restaurant and back at home again. Throughout the work, she manages to simultaneously offer a running history of her life, her evolving dialogue with food and her process and methodologies. In fact, she manages to provide so much detail in regards to her practices of her crazy work ethic, inclusive of the meditative trances, that it just comes across as inspirational and, dare I say, even sexy. ( )
  xntrek | Apr 3, 2018 |
The first part of the book is a wonderful, lyrical tale of her childhood. However, the second half of the book disintegrates into a self-centered take on the disintegration of her marriage. Her attacks against her husband, mother, and most people around her lacks any self-reflection...it comes across as snooty and mean. ( )
  abergsman | Mar 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (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. The same party, every year, when I was a kid.
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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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