Title: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education
of a Reluctant Chef
Author: Gabrielle Hamilton
289 pages; Hardcover $26.00 US/$30.00CAN
Publisher: Random House, NY NY 2011
Reviewed by Bess R. Emanuel, March 2011
Book reviews on Good Cooking.com are generally
about cookbooks; here
s an exception that makes for an absorbing read and a look into the life of a chef/owner of a small restaurant. Gabrielle Hamilton, like many chefs, got her training for that job out in the real world, because she actually studied writing at the University of Michigan. She has written for newspapers and magazines, so it's not surprising that she has produced this memoir. It's about her life story, the development of her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, and most of all, her experiences with family: her own birth family, her family of friends, the family of her restaurant employees and customers, and the family she builds for herself through an unconventional marriage and the births of two sons.
As is evident from the title, Hamilton's writing style is no-holds-barred; the unvarnished truth. Woven in with tales of her turbulent early years, and of trips to Italy to visit her husband's family, are her descriptions of the start-up and operation of her 30-seat restaurant in New York
s East Village. Having owned and operated a similar-sized restaurant, I could relate only too well to her tales of the unique combination of exhaustion and exhilaration that are the hallmarks of this business.
The book's title gives a clue to Hamilton's earthy approach to life, and the dedication sums that up: 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. For a glimpse into a beguiling life, Blood, Bones & Butter will provide good entertainment.
No recipes are in this book!