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

This book contains no recipes.

Notes about this book

  • DKennedy on September 09, 2015

    Author of Prune.

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Reviews about this book

  • Fine Cooking irreverent, compelling memoir told by a woman who writes as well as she cooks. From the very first page, Hamilton’s vivid prose grabs you... It’s a delicious journey.

    Full review
  • Amateur Gourmet

    Hamilton’s prose is like lightning–it cuts while it illuminates–and the story that Hamilton reveals, of her family, her career, her love life and her children is one that’s only enhanced by writing...

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  • NPR by Jennifer Reese

    ...I canceled my afternoon plans. I read until dark, in a bit of a trance, and experienced an uncommon feeling of desolation as the number of pages began to dwindle

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  • Gluten-Free Girl

    ...possibly one of my favorite memoirs of all time, mostly because it is so utterly imperfect. Hamilton, who owns Prune (one of our favorite restaurants in New York) is unflinching.

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  • ISBN 10 140006872X
  • ISBN 13 9781400068722
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Mar 01 2011
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 304
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Random House
  • Imprint Random House

Publishers Text

“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.

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