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

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

by Gabrielle Hamilton
3.7 172

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Overview

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

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Miami Herald • Newsday • The Huffington Post • Financial Times • GQ • Slate • Men’s Journal • Washington Examiner • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews • National Post • The Toronto Star • BookPage • Bookreporter

“I wanted the lettuce and eggs at room temperature . . . the butter-and-sugar sandwiches we ate after school for snack . . . the marrow bones my mother made us eat as kids that I grew to crave as an adult. . . . There would be no ‘conceptual’ or ‘intellectual’ food, just the salty, sweet, starchy, brothy, crispy things that one craves when one is actually hungry. In ecstatic farewell to my years of corporate catering, we would never serve anything but a martini in a martini glass. Preferably gin.”
 
Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and the magnificence of the one from her childhood that, in her adult years, eluded her. Hamilton’s ease and comfort in a kitchen were instilled in her at an early age when her parents hosted grand parties, often for more than one hundred friends and neighbors. The smells of spit-roasted lamb, apple wood smoke, and rosemary garlic marinade became as necessary to her as her own skin.

Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; the soulless catering factories that helped pay the rent; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a difficult and prickly marriage that nonetheless yields rich and lasting dividends.

Blood, Bones & Butter is an unflinching and lyrical work. Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion. By turns epic and intimate, it marks the debut of a tremendous literary talent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812980882
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/24/2012
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 147,215
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. She received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and Food & Wine. Hamilton has also authored the 8-week Chef Column in The New York Times, and her work has been anthologized in six volumes of Best Food Writing. She has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and the Food Network, among other television. She lives in Manhattan with her two sons.

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Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 172 reviews.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of the acclaimed New York restaurant Prune. In Blood, Bones and Butter she chronicles how she ended up a famous chef giving lectures in cooking schools and running a successful restaurant. Gabrielle grew up in a big, boisterous, unconventional family with a French mother and an unreliable, artistic father. Both her parents taught her to love food, so when the family split up and she was a teenager at loose ends and needing money, she went to work in a restaurant. Through all kinds of turmoil and instability Gabrielle clung to food as the one thing she could count on. As many others have pointed out Blood, Bones, and Butter is more about Gabrielle's neglectful childhood and subsequent struggles than it is about food. When she is describing food she does so beautifully with a sort of melancholic nostalgia that is very appealing. I loved the early scenes about her father's outdoor parties and all the preparation that went into them. However much of the book is written in the vein of - I grew up doing drugs, stealing stuff for the fun of it, generally being a badass, aren't I cool. I have read too many of these type of stories to be very impressed anymore. The best memoirs tend to come from the author's ability to dig deep and come to some stark truths about their own motivations and mistakes and end with the feeling that the author is headed in a better direction. Gabrielle seems to leave out the deep parts, somehow skimming over the astonishing changes her life has undergone. How did a lesbian, in a committed and passionate relationship, suddenly find herself married with two kids? How did she go from years of defeated drudgery in the catering kitchens to suddenly having her own, successful restaurant? I would have loved to see the emotional transitions that must have taken place for these things to happen, but I feel like Gabrielle was unwilling to make herself that vulnerable to her audience. Overall an interesting story with some nice foodie tidbits, but lacking the depth I was hoping for.
imcnulty More than 1 year ago
If you're looking to learn about professional cooking and running a restuarant, this is not the book for you. More about how the author pulled herself up by her bootstraps despite her parents,etc. I thought it was very boring and was sorry I wasted my money on this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing itself is good. However, the author just seems to constantly whine about her life which gets very tiresome.
BooksNBeans More than 1 year ago
It seems fitting that a book that is different from most should have a review that's different than most. This review is a collaborated effort, as it's a compilation of 20 opinions with the rating being the calculated average (3 1/2 out of 5), but with one person &quot;authoring&quot; it. <i>Blood, Bones, &amp; Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef</i> by Gabrielle Hamilton turned out to be a book perfect for a book club discussion. There were so many topics to discuss starting with her childhood, her parents, her siblings, her adolescent years of crime, her lifelong love-hate relationship with cooking, the confusion her &quot;wish-washy&quot; sexuality caused, her adult years as a person, her constant desire and need for a family, and of course her experiences as a restaurant owner. Though the majority of the ratings fell to the middle, with areas of the book being really well-liked and other areas being really despised, there were a few that positively loved the book and were balanced by those that absolutely hated it. The opinions varied so heavily in the discussion that it's really difficult to pin down where BB&amp;B did well and where it failed to appeal to the reader. But let's give it our best try. My personal opinion is, that regardless of whether you end up loving or hating the book, Hamilton's bravery at producing a book that analyzes her entire life is to be commended. How many of us would be able to put our life out there for the world to judge? How many would be as blatantly honest? Would you be tempted to gloss over certain events and choices, or would you be able to let all the ugly and undesirable hang out there? Her overall writing style (voice) was enjoyed with the majority of the readers appreciating that she was open and sincere in her revelations, even when they failed to put her in a better light. Though her failing to stick to a chronological sequence was a source of contention. The overall agreement being that it made the story a little harder to follow at times, and it made the book seem less like a professional publication and more like a set of journal entries slapped together. As for the story itself, this was another area where opinions varied greatly. For some the focus on the food and the food experiences were the better way to go, for others the better focus was the life story itself. No matter what camp a reader was in they felt that there was too much of the other and that it took away from the &quot;true&quot; story. There was only one who appreciated the intertwining of the two as it is a &quot;perfect illustration of how they intertwine in Hamilton's life&quot;. This was acknowledged as a very valid point. The last point of agreement was the ending, no one felt the story held itself up through to the end. The overall consensus was that it just fizzled out. However, the small section at the back discussing the status of Hamilton's marriage and her status with the Italian side of the family was largely appreciated. It was a moment of absolute frustration when we though the book had ending with no closure on either subject. *Note*: I don't know if this section is in other editions of the books, it's not labeled as an epilogue or anything, it's just sort of there. This particular edition was the Random House Reader's Circle with the little gold circle on the front. I hope this compilation review helps you get an idea of <i>Blood, Bones, &amp; Butter</i> and whether it might be something you wish to get your hands on. A high recommendation is for it to be a book club read, as it was done here. It is absolutely perfect for creating discussion! *Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for using it as a book club read and a review*
Barnesie More than 1 year ago
It's not until halfway through Blood, Bones & Butter that Gabrielle Hamilton begins to shed light on the fact that she probably always wanted to be a writer and studied the craft all the way through graduate school. Until that point, her endlessly run-on sentences and colorfully personal descriptions seem to be quite an unexpected talent for a chef to possess. The fact that she studied creative writing with such effort, while continuously and almost accidentally stumbling higher and higher into the culinary world paints a portrait of a would-be writer who took several wrong turns to end up in a kitchen. Readers seeking deep dissertations on culinary techniques or restaurant business mechanics will be disappointed, as it becomes more and more apparent that cooking is less who she is and more an innate part of what her life has become. Eggplant and roasted lamb carcasses may decorate the background, but at its core, Blood Bones and Butter is an unflinching portrait of a woman who has stumbled along in the passenger seat through long corridors of her life to become an accidental chef, an accidental restaurateur, an accidental wife and an accidental Italian adoptee. The journey is an intensely introspective look at a writer who cooks, not a chef that writes, and the unvarnished accounts of selfishness, unrequited expectation and disappointment result in writing that alternates between pictorially charming and self-deprecatingly brave.
lmf22purple More than 1 year ago
Loved her descriptions of Italian food and life and her insights into catering. Otherwise, disjointed and really lacked focus. Her narrative is a bit hard to follow and left more questions than answers. An autobiography of the chef/owner of Prune, a restaurant in NYC. She is too young to have memoirs and while it is all the rage for chefs to write their stories, the stories need to be well told. This book seemed to be more hurry-up-and-get-something-out-there-while-the-trend-is-hot. She is a self-proclaimed lesbian who ends up married to a man. There is some discussion about what happens and not enough about how - how does a lesbian end up married and having babies with a man? She tries to explain that she fell in love with an idea, and somehow falls flat. I would like to re-read this story in a revised version after a good editor gets hold of it. As it stands, I can't recommend it for anyone other than food insiders because you will quickly tire of her peripatetic style when it doesn't seem to go anywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book. I was not impressed. It seemed to glorify the drug hazed life style. I did not appreciate it (this was a book club selection).
Fester More than 1 year ago
This is a very readable biography, as Hamilton is a good writer. Her story is interesting. My only complaint is that she spends too much time expressing her bitterness about her parents' divorce, for which she blamed her mother, without fully explaining why she is so bitter or why her mother initiated the divorce. The book is best when it focuses on Hamilton's love of food and the use of food as an expression of love and human interaction.
wattfarms More than 1 year ago
This book is exhilarating to read. It is unlike any other I have experienced. And you do experience this book as if you were with Gabrielle as she endures the total desertion by her parents at a young age and as she travels and becomes educated from and by so many situations and opportunities in her life. The result is the ownership of her own NYC restaurant, Prune. You can feel each unpleasant and each wonderful moment that leads to her development. As she trips through her daily evolutions becoming such a knowledgeable chef, not from intentionally studying the business, but from immersing herself from childhood in the wonders and glories of food and its myriad of historical and more recent combinations, you can visualize and almost taste what she savors with each bite. This is such a fine read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seven sat, looking around at her old home.
BigThyme More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader of chef/foodie memoirs (I am a chef) and this is by far my favorite. She is amazing and truly my culinary hero. READ THIS BOOK.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would post the whole song for you, but ny mom won't let me use her phone. Lol. So I can't remember the lyrics very well. I do know the chorus though. So, here ya go: <p> H-E-L-L-O! Blasting through your stereo! <br> K-I-T-T-Y! Let me slip between your thighs! <br> H-E-L-L-O! Coming straight from Tokyo! <br> K-I-T-T-Y! Show me how you're such a hoe! <br> H-E-L-L-O! Get down on your knees and blow! <br> K-I-T-T-Y! You're such a fu<_>cking cutie pie! <p> That's all I can think of right now. Sorry. Maybe I'll post more tomorrow for ya. Song's called 'I Love Hello Kitty' by Blood On The Dance Floor (BOTDF) It's a good song, though it's extremely inappropriate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YEAH
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What happened to this place?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Next res. &#22225
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Purred
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are moving to bloody result one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Im back!" She leers at everyone (sorry my stepdad shut off the wifi all week so im borrowing my dads gfs wifi nyeh)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I quit this #$!@ clan! Good-bye!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Im CATBUG!!!" Also Merfolk rp at 'ocean spray' onyl res. Sry for advertiaing, especially from Catbug xD