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Very quickly after meeting Gabrielle Hamilton, I understood why she was a terrific and much-admired chef. I knew that her restaurant, Prune, was ground-breaking, that she seemed to have come out of nowhere, instead of being a product of the "system" (she'd emerged from the invisible subculture of catering), to open one of the most quirky, totally uncompromising, and quickly-embraced restaurants in New York City. Her purportedly (but not really) Franco-phobic menus were intensely, notoriously personal, her early embrace of the nose-to-tail attitude was way, way ahead the times, and chefs--all chefs--seemed to like and respect her. Almost as quickly, it became apparent that this chef could write.
Short pieces appeared here and there over the years and they were sharp, funny, incisive, unsparing of both author and subjects--straight to the point and pretense-free, like Hamilton herself. She could write really well. And she had, from all accounts, a story to tell. So when it was announced that Blood, Bones, and Butter was in the works, I was very excited.
It was a long wait.
Five years later, I finally got my hands on an advance copy and eagerly devoured it. It was of course brilliant. I expected it to be. But I wasn't prepared for exactly how goddamn brilliant the thing was, or how enchanted, difficult, strange, rich, inspiring and just plain hard her life and career--her long road to Prune--had been. I was unprepared for page after page of such sharp, carefully-crafted, ballistically-precise sentences. I was, frankly, devastated. I put this amazing memoir down and wanted to crawl under the bed, retroactively withdraw every book, every page I'd ever written. And burn them.
Blood, Bones, and Butter is, quite simply, the far-and-away best chef or food-genre memoir...ever. EVER. It certainly kicked the hell out of my Kitchen Confidential, which suddenly, in a second, felt shallow, sophomoric and ultimately lightweight next to this...this monster of a book, this--at times--truly hardscrabble life…Blood, Bones, and Butter is deeper, better written, more hardcore, more fully fleshed-out; a more well-rounded story than every sunflower-and-saffron account of soft-core food porn in France. It's as bullshit and pretense-free as AJ Leibling--and at least as well written, but more poignant, romantic--even thrilling.
It makes any "as told to" account of famous chef's lives look instantly ludicrous and bloodless. I've struggled to think of somebody/anybody who's written a better account of the journey to chefdom and can't think of anyone who's come even close.
Writing a memoir of one's life as a chef--or even writing about one's relationship with food--has, with the publication of this book, become much more difficult. Hamilton has raised the bar higher than most of us could ever hope to reach. This book will sell a gazillion copies. It will be a bestseller. It will be an enduring classic. It will inspire generation after generation of young cooks, and anyone who really loves food and understands the context in which it is best enjoyed, NOT as some isolated, over-valued object of desire, but as only one important aspect of a larger, richer spectrum of experiences. Each plate of food--like the menu at Prune--is the end result of a long and sometimes very difficult struggle.
Read this book and prepare to clean your system of all that's come before. It's a game-changer and a truly great work by a great writer and great chef.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is a wonderful book, well written and interesting.
It seems like the author forgot that she was writing an interesting book and delved into marriage therapy for herself instead, which is very boring for the reader.
I love books that take you into the lives and journeys of its subjects, and in the book Blood, Bones and Butter, autohr Gabrielle Hamilton didn't disappoint.
Best most exciting book I have read in along time. Great writing.Published 3 days ago by Linda M McKay
Loved the story! Having lived in NY and Italy I could picture it all. Having lived with a Greek family for 30 years I could understand the attachment and enjoyment of summer... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Kathleen Collins Moraskie
This is a completely honest account, not only of the inadvertent making of a great chef, but it means to be a woman, warts and all. Read morePublished 25 days ago by L. K. Julow
A great book for foodies...and everyone else. Ms. Hamilton's love of life and food and wine, shines through in her beautiful writing style, which often turns prose into poetry. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Daerius
Having read all non-cookbook food-based books I can find by modern chefs and food critics, this one drew my attention with the title. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Garrel
wonderful, also knew the area she talked about in her younger yrs.Published 2 months ago by Shirley Burke
Too many words strung together. Frankly I got bored reading it and skimmed to the end. Sorry!Published 2 months ago by Martha B.
This book was a serious letdown. I've cooked professionally for about five years now and have read most well-known books by cooks; this one lacks a real passion for the industry... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Peter Baum