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Blood, Bones and Butter: The inadvertent education of a reluctant chef [Paperback]

Gabrielle Hamilton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012

Blood, Bones & Butter follows the chef Gabrielle Hamilton's extraordinary journey through the places she has inhabited over the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with 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; and the kitchen of her beloved Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton's idyllic past and her own future family.

Unflinchingly honest, moving, beautifully crafted and funny, this is a rollicking, passionate story of food, purpose and family.

Frequently Bought Together

Blood, Bones and Butter: The inadvertent education of a reluctant chef + A Greedy Man in a Hungry World: How (Almost) Everything You Thought You Knew About Food Is Wrong + How to Eat Out
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099498332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099498339
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Magnificent... Blood, Bones & Butter is the work of an uncompromising chef and a prodigiously talented writer. I am choked with envy" (Anthony Bourdain)

"My favourite book of the past few years, a thrilling and visceral personal memoir" (Financial Times)

"A rhapsodic, profane, wonderful, imperfect memoir... every bit as rich and satisfying as the marrow bones the author roasts at Prune" (Wall Street Journal)

"The food memoir of the year" (Guardian)

"Evocative... Dazzling... Beautifully written" (New York Times)

Book Description

A sharply crafted and unflinchingly honest memoir ('simply the best memoir by a chef ever. Ever.' Anthony Bourdain) about the search for meaning and purpose from one of America's most recognized chefs and up-and-coming literary talents.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, wonderful, honest 29 July 2011
Incisive and evocative words that describe a life lived with all it's joys and trials. Having read most of this book out loud to my rather bemused husband, I'm about to head to the store to get a copy for mum, mum-in-law, gran, my closest friends, my son's girlfriend! An absorbing, exquisitely written story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying portion of food writing 20 Jan 2012
This is a book that really satisfies on both the food and the writing.
The food part is covered by the engrossing tale of Gabrielle Hamilton's journey to becoming a chef, through her childhood meals, waitressing and contract cooking experiences, through to planning and running her New York restaurant, Prune. The details of each of these food worlds are colourful and interesting, and described in a much less macho way than Anthony Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential', perhaps the most obvious comparison in terms of chef memoirs.
But the writing is what I found so satisfying about this book. Gabrielle Hamilton describes her writing Masters in one part of the book, and the thought and originality she puts into the prose really shines.
I couldn't put this book down, and can't wait to go back and start again from the beginning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gutsy lady. 11 Aug 2012
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
Flattering book cover quotes by famous authors can work against the book as much as they can work for it. The cover of Blood, Bones and Butter is emblazoned with a quote from Anthony Bourdain: "Magnificent. Simply the best memoir by a chef ever. Ever" (sic). When I was lent this book and read this quote, my heart sank. "Oh no, not another wannabe ballsy chef," I thought. "And what a title for a book. Sounds horrible."

Well, as the cliche goes, you can't judge a book by its cover. This book is a masterclass in the art of the memoir.

Like a good meal, the narrative arrives in three courses.

The starter, or Blood, as Gabrielle terms it, describes her early idyllic life in rural Pennsylvania as the youngest of five children. Her French mother (a great domestic cook) and her American theatrical set designer dad hold amazing neighbourhood parties where they roast several whole spring lambs in the meadow of their 19th century silk mill home. You get the picture.

The idyll comes to an abrupt end when her parents unexpectedly divorce and Gabrielle's young life comes apart at the seams. Bones, the 'main course', follows the time when she goes off the rails but finds work in the kitchens of various local restaurants before departing for the potential excitement but inherent dangers of New York.

The last course sees Gabrielle opening her tiny New York restaurant, Prune, how she gets the restaurant off the ground and meets the Italian man who will become her husband, despite the fact that she is a lesbian. Each year, she, her husband and their two small sons spend a month with her in-laws in Puglia. I couldn't disagree more with the reviewer who found this section of the book so poor. I thought this was perhaps the finest part of a very fine book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Two Halves 12 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book today. As someone very interested in food I looked forward to it very much since it had been hailed as a female version of Anthony Bourdains' Kitchen Confidential. I loved the first half of the book (the blood and bones sections); it was beautifully written and very evocative. Fascinating retelling of her childhood and her development as a cook into a chef to finally running her own restaurant. But the last section after her marriage was lack lustre. The book seemed to be two parts welded together not all that successfully. I can understand her wanting to work through the disappointement and anger at her marriage but she did go on and on and she lost my sympathy. I was with her all the way in the first half of the book but by the end she came over as rather less sympathetic. Arrogant almost in her critical views of the Italian matriarchal family and culturally imperialist. She seemed really rather too pleased with herself for having reorganised her mother-in-law's kitchen and cut down the trees blocking the view of the sea. I was finally glad when the book came to an end, which is a pity. With better guidance by her editor it could have been a more rounded and satifying book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A book as appealing as her food 29 Nov 2013
I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say this is the best memoir by a chef ever written (I feel Anthony Bourdain might be a little given to hyperbole looking at that quote on the cover!), but it's an enormously enjoyable read.

Hamilton traces the roots of her fascination with food, from enormous parties at her parents' rural home to opening her award-winning restaurant, Prune, and cooking with - because she can't speak to - her Italian mother in law, via a lawsuit for grand larceny, a green card marriage and a lot of coke. I don't imagine there are many people with quite such interesting lives!

The style is a little grating in places (quite what she has against verbs, and actual sentences, I don't know), but it's a very appealing read, and it's worth reading now before Gwynnie sanitises the role on the big screen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Bones and Butter 6 Oct 2013
By marijo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book for any foodie. entertaining , informative, well written. You can smell the herbs and taste the dishes described. Passed on to friends who loved it too
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