Foodie Book Review: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

A weekend of fun and family–and no cooking–brings another foodie book review. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as fond of this as most of Hamilton’s more public reviewers.  

3 out of 5 stars
Hamilton is the chef du jour in New York, as her restaurant, Prune, has won rave reviews. She doesn’t sugar coat what it’s like to run a restaurant. I think in this day and age of The Food Network, where chefs are superstars, many have a misconception of what it takes to own a restaurant, I myself being one of them. I have this fantasy of a hot kitchen, then going out to the dining room in my whites and receiving plaudits from my customers. Yet aside from cooking, there are also things like hiring and firing people, running a payroll, cleaning up human poop, dealing with rude (and in their eyes, entitled) customers, the list goes on. (After reading this, I now know I could never run my own restaurant!)

Aside from being what many say is a wonderful cook, Hamilton is a truly gifted writer. She is no holds barred, nothing is off-limits. Whether it is her upbringing, where she was abandoned by her mother, her drug and alcohol use as a pre teen, her language (which I’m sure she cleaned up for the book!), her sexuality, her subsequent marriage to an Italian she hardly knows and with whom she has two babies with, she is all out there, with no fear of judgment on the part of the reader. While the first two-thirds of the book were wonderful, the last part, “Butter,” felt like an over extended therapy session. Basically, she worked out what was wrong in her marriage on the pages, and frankly, I could give two hoots. While most takes place on her yearly holiday she takes to Italy with food descriptions, I left the dinner table feeling more than a little unsatisfied. Take me back to Prune and the meals you create and save all the other stuff for your therapist.

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