- Publisher: Vintage (1717)
- ASIN: B01N51Z7SH
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- Average Customer Review: 599 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,404,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood, Bones and Butter: The inadvertent education of a reluctant chef by Gabrielle Hamilton (2012-03-01) Paperback – 1717
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Step by step through her unlikely life, she carries us along on her journey to top chef of Prune restaurant in NYC. Along the way we learn what it takes to be a chef and way they make such lousy spouses. Driven by their desire to excel, and the demands of their profession, they are married to the restaurant with little time or energy left over for people.
This lively account of her life shows the price she pays and whether she thinks it is worth it. Lively, honest and fascinating, it give a glimpse into the life of a top chef.
From, at first, a superficially happy childhood, to a rudderless, loveless and seemingly parent-less teenage, with drugs, cigarettes and often no money, this woman by pure bloody-mindedness and tenacity fights her way up through menial jobs to be the chef of "Prune", and she still is one of New York's best chefs. Take note that she really is a very hard worker, who doesn't mind cleaning up the most yucky stuff -- she cannot stand disorganization and mess. Hats off to her for that.
Yet the memoir is in many ways too self-centred. She carries within her issues and old angers which the reader picks up on as the story goes on. Her husband Michele seemed to me to be a very nice man, actually, to put up for so long with this impatient woman who (she never admits this) finds it hard to love unconditionally. The (seeming) total lack of communication between her and Michele made me want to shake her and say, "For God's sake, so he's not a talker: YOU talk then!" It seems her way of expressing fury towards him -- often not well understood by the reader -- is to sulk for weeks. And yet somewhere she confesses that although she screams, swears like a sailor, and throws things when angry at Michele, he has never uttered a harsh word towards her. An easy-going woman she is not!
Her one true love, apart from her children (who could well have been created by immaculate conception), is cooking. She's brilliant at that, and to keep a N Y restaurant going on her own takes true grit -- there is no other word for it.
Like another reviewer I also did not understand her dislike, almost hatred, of her mother. She says they're too similar, but that does not ring true, really. And in the end we still do not know much this mother who abandoned most of her children when she left her husband.
I'd recommend this book to any intelligent foodie -- just know it's not always a light or easy read, but it should keep you spellbound.