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More Bookish Thoughts...
on June 19, 2011
"It must have been my mother, the cook, who was in the kitchen with the six burners and the two-bin sink...doing 'the bones' as my father called it. But it was from him...we learned how to create beauty where none exists, how to be generous beyond our means, how to change a small corner of the world just by making a little dinner for a few friends."
So begins Gabrielle Hamilton's idyllic childhood in rural Pennsylvania, one centered around agriculture, artistry and an annual spring lamb roast for 200 people. Such sublimity is shattered, however, when Hamilton's parents divorce and split the family in two. The break-up impels her to seek independence, landing a kitchen job at age 13 and embarking on a lifetime of culinary adventure.
Blood, Bones & Butter waxes rhapsodic about food but reaches a much larger audience than just the foodie crowd. Hamilton has an M.F.A. in fiction writing and employs her scholarly, effortless style to evocatively describe surviving poverty in Manhattan, reconnecting with her estranged mother and visiting the south of Italy.
At the heart of her memoir is Hamilton's decision to open her own restaurant (the famous Prune in NYC) in 1999. Despite some disorienting gaps, chronological disorderliness and perhaps too much detail about her dysfunctional marriage, Hamilton provides an engrossing, tactile and aromatic chronicle of her experiences cooking and eating around the world.