Blood, Bones & Butter:

The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

A New York Times Bestseller

A 2011 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

A 2011 Washington Examiner Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction

One of the 2011 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Nonfiction

A 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2011 Huffington Post Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2011 Financial Times Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction

A 2011 Slate Magazine Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2011 BookPage Best Book for Nonfiction

One of the 2011 Newsday’s Favorite Books of the Year

Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Selected for the March 2011 Indie Next List

Winner of the 2012 Indies Choice Award for Nonfiction

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2011

A USA Today Bestseller

Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and the magnificence of the one from her childhood that, in her adult years, eluded her. Hamilton’s ease and comfort in a kitchen were instilled in her at an early age when her parents hosted grand parties, often for more than one hundred friends and neighbors. The smells of spit-roasted lamb, apple wood smoke, and rosemary garlic marinade became as necessary to her as her own skin.

Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily 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; the soulless catering factories that helped pay the rent; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family, the result of a difficult and prickly marriage that nonetheless yields rich and lasting dividends.

Editorial Reviews

Gabrielle Hamilton has changed the potential and raised the bar for all books about eating and cooking. Her nearly rabid love for all real food experience and her completely vulnerable, unprotected yet pure point of view unveils itself in both truth and inspiration. I will read this book to my children and then burn all the books I have written for pretending to be anything even close to this. After that I will apply for the dishwasher job at Prune to learn from my new queen.Mario BataliI have long considered Gabrielle Hamilton a writer in cook’s clothing, and this deliciously complex and intriguing memoir proves the point. Her candor, courage, and craft make for a wonderful read but, even more, for an appreciation of her talent and dedication, which have resulted from her often trying but inspiring experiences. Her writing is every bit as delectable and satisfying as her food.Mimi Sheraton, food critic and author of The German Cookbook and Eating My Words
[A] lusty, rollicking, engaging-from-page-one memoir of the chef-owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. Hamilton opened her eating establishment without any prior experience in cheffing, but the life experiences she did have before that bold move, told here in honest detail, obviously made up for any deficiencies in heading up a restaurant and also provide material for an electric story that is interesting even if the author hadn’t become the chef-owner of a successful restaurant. An idyllic childhood turned sour when her parents divorced; her adolescence and young womanhood encompassed drugs, menial jobs, and lack of direction and initiative when it came to continued education. All’s well that ends well, however, and her story does indeed do that. Add this to the shelf of chef memoirs but also recommend it to readers with a penchant for forthright, well-written memoirs in general. Booklist
Magnificent. Simply the best memoir by a chef ever. Ever. Gabrielle Hamilton packs more heart, soul, and pure power into one beautifully crafted page than I’ve accomplished in my entire writing career. Blood, Bones & Butter is the work of an uncompromising chef and a prodigiously talented writer. I am choked with envy.Anthony Bourdain

“Add this to the shelf of chef memoirs but also recommend it to readers with a penchant for forthright, well-written memoirs in general.”

Booklist

“Gabrielle Hamilton has changed the potential and raised the bar for all books about eating and cooking. Her nearly rabid love for all real food experience and her completely vulnerable, unprotected yet pure point of view unveils itself in both truth and inspiration. I will read this book to my children and then burn all the books I have written for pretending to be anything even close to this. After that I will apply for the dishwasher job at Prune to learn from my new queen.”

Mario Batali

“Hamilton unexpectedly started up her no-nonsense, comfort-food Prune in a charming space in the East Village in 1999. Hamilton can be refreshingly thorny (especially when it comes to her reluctance to embrace the ‘foodie’ world), yet she is also as frank and unpretentious as her menu-and speaks openly about marrying an Italian man (despite being a lesbian), mostly to cook with his priceless Old World mother in Italy.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“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.”

Anthony Bourdain

Author Biography

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. She received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, GQ, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and Food & Wine. Hamilton has also authored the eight-week Chef Column in the New York Times, and her work has been anthologized in six volumes of Best Food Writing. She has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and the Food Network, among other television programs. She lives in Manhattan with her two sons.

Reader Biography

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. She received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, GQ, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and Food & Wine. Hamilton has also authored the eight-week Chef Column in the New York Times, and her work has been anthologized in six volumes of Best Food Writing. She has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and the Food Network, among other television programs. She lives in Manhattan with her two sons.

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