It’s Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, written and read by Gabrielle Hamilton. It’s out from Random House Audio–and here’s what they have to say for themselves:
The book begins with Hamilton as a 9-year-old, helping to prepare for her family’s annual spring lamb roast. She considers this setting and this life in her own wildly colorful, bohemian, charismatic family to be the best party of all time–the one to measure all others against. The party, however, ends three years later, with startling abruptness, as her parents announce their impending divorce. With the implosion of the family Hamilton is emotionally and physically abandoned and essentially left to raise herself. For the next 30 years, she goes in search of this party, this idyllic family that she imperfectly recreates all along the way – from the first restaurant owner who gives her a dishwashing job at age 12, to the waitresses who teach her how to steal from the NY night club bosses at age 16, to the people she encounters in Greece, France, Turkey and India that educate her about hospitality and make her feel cared for, to the culinary mentor she unexpectedly finds while getting her MFA, to the staff she employs and takes care of at Prune, and eventually and most importantly, to the new family (an Italian husband and their two sons) she’s able to eventually create. This family doesn’t come about neatly, wholeheartedly or always joyfully, but it happens and there are, in spite of the marriage’s sharp angles and ill fitting components, some rich dividends. Hamilton’s story is neither sweet nor romantic, and does not, for a moment, glide over the dark side of working in the food industry, of the difficulty of family life nor the profound disappointments of a flawed marriage. Instead, it just tells those stories as honestly as possible. While food plays a major role throughout the book, to say that this is a culinary memoir is too narrow a definition. Hamilton’s writing covers a tremendous amount of territory. While there are thought-provoking passages about food, cooking, and being a restaurateur, the book is mostly about the search for family and for purpose.
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