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Blood, Bones and Butter

by Emma on June 22, 2011

in Books

I think I first heard about Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter from Entertainment Weekly. Yes, I read that.

I was intrigued by the cover, and by the fact that it’s written by a successful chef (and uh… I like food. Obviously). I know, I know, you should not necessarily judge a book by its cover. But after finishing this fantastic book I have to say, the cover really does fit the contents.

Hamilton is, like, so edgy. And funny. And interesting. With just the right amount of literary gloss and maybe just a pinch or two of (food) snobbery. Even if you are not interested in cooking this is a really fun memoir, Hamilton had such a fascinating life. After her parents divorced when she was a young adolescent she was left alone one summer at the family’s home and had to learn (quickly) how to provide for herself. She got a job, smoked cigarettes, shop lifted clothes and stole a few cars (which she always returned). Before she was even 18 she had already moved to NY and worked at a waitress (serving alcohol) and doing coke in her spare time.

Pretty gritty, huh?

It gets even better though, in my opinion, as you watch Hamilton grow into a (reluctant, at first) chef and eventually own her own successful restaurant and start a family. Her honesty and wit hold you to the very last page though, as she does not leave the reader with a tidy little happily-ever-after ending. She is still wrestling with marital issues and finding her place among her (Italian) in-laws even on the very last page of the book. This leaves a lot of questions the reader (or at least, uh, me) might have unanswered. But I found Hamilton’s voice and perspective truly refreshing, captivating and fun. (I’m sure she would roll her eyes at that last adjective. Ha!)

Loved it. The end.

xo. Emma


Katherine of Kitten's Lost Her Mittens June 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm

It sounds really interesting! I love books about food and memoirs, so I’ll have to check this out.

suzy June 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

i’m sold.

Shana Janelle June 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Sounds like a great read. I will add this to my Kindle list. Just found your blog by the way – its great!

Stacey June 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Thanks for the recommendation, sounds right up my ally. Another food/memoir book I loved that you might also enjoy is ‘A Homemade Life’ written by the blogger of Orangette.

Sara June 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I just signed up for an adult summer reading program at my library today and am going to add this to the list. I’m a sucker for memoirs and this sounds right up my alley.

Chelle June 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I read the title of this post and thought it would be a food post. Then I was like, “Wait…isn’t she vegetarian!?” My heart was aflutter for a moment.

Amanda Hope Shelburne June 22, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I just heard a review of this book yesterday, on NPR’s “On Point” program. It was a panal of 3 book reviewers and this was on their list. It’s on mine, too, now! :)

April June 22, 2011 at 10:15 pm

This looks right up my alley. My husband would enjoy it, too. Thanks for the recommendation.

Alyssa June 23, 2011 at 3:13 am

Thanks for the recommendation! I don’t have tons of time to read, but this definitely sounds like something I could finish rather quickly :)

emily ruth June 23, 2011 at 6:33 am

this sounds so great…
thanks, emma!

Bekka June 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Haha! is a staple on my computer. :) I’m an entertainment info junkie.

Olga June 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I know what you mean about the cover. That’s what would have attracted me to this book. It’s the same reason why I picked up and read the Raw Shark Texts, which turned out to be amazing.

Alexis June 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Thanks for posting this, my nannny is going to school to be a chef and I think I’ll get the book for her!

Kacie June 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Great! I love food+book recommendations! Thanks.


Bron July 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

That sounds like a really interesting read, and one that’s very realistic (ie. it doesn’t have a nice, sweet ending). Sometimes it’s good to read books like that, it gives you a sense of real life in a way. It’s on my list to read now!

Lauren Helen July 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Wow, sounds like an intriguing read!