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From Barnes & NobleDiscover Great New Writers
The owner of a prestigious Manhattan restaurant describes her inadvertent education as a very reluctant chef.
Once a year, Hamilton's perennially destitute father threw a huge lamb roast at the family's ramshackle Pennsylvania farmhouse. On that night the family slept under the stars, and all the comforts of life seemed plentiful: food, wine, a roaring bonfire, family, friends — and love.
When Hamilton was twelve, her parents split up and inexplicably left, leaving her to fend for herself in a Dickensian subsistence of lowly jobs, alcohol, drugs, and theft. In her late teens, she began the slow process of healing through food in a tiny café owned by a relative. "I was sucking something in. Something unmitigated. This is the crepe. This is the cider. This is how we live and eat."
After years of soul-sapping catering jobs, Hamilton opened her own East Village restaurant. "I wanted . . . the marrow bones my mother made . . . brown butcher paper on the tables . . . jelly jars for wine glasses . . ." she writes. "There would be no foam and no ‘conceptual' or ‘intellectual' food; just the salty, sweet, starchy, brothy, crispy things that one craves when one is actually hungry."
If Blood, Bones, and Butter were a recipe, it would be five-star, celebrated for its perfect balance of bravery and humility, its liberating sense of joy seasoned with pervading childhood loneliness. The book is as perfect a memoir counterpart to Hamilton's menu at Prune as can be imagined: warm, savory, and addictive; the pure, distilled essence of courage and honesty.