Blood, Bones, and Butter

Blood, Bones, and Butter

The Inadvertent Education of A Reluctant Chef

Book - 2011/03/01
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Random House, Inc.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Miami Herald • Newsday • The Huffington Post • Financial Times • GQ • Slate • Men’s Journal • Washington Examiner • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews • National Post • The Toronto Star • BookPage • Bookreporter

“I wanted the lettuce and eggs at room temperature . . . the butter-and-sugar sandwiches we ate after school for snack . . . the marrow bones my mother made us eat as kids that I grew to crave as an adult. . . . There would be no ‘conceptual’ or ‘intellectual’ food, just the salty, sweet, starchy, brothy, crispy things that one craves when one is actually hungry. In ecstatic farewell to my years of corporate catering, we would never serve anything but a martini in a martini glass. Preferably gin.”
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.

Blood, Bones & Butter is an unflinching and lyrical work. Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion. By turns epic and intimate, it marks the debut of a tremendous literary talent.

Baker & Taylor
The chef of New York's East Village Prune restaurant presents an account of her search for meaning and purpose in the central rural New Jersey home of her youth, marked by a first chicken kill, an international backpacking tour, and the opening of a first restaurant.

& Taylor

The chef of New York's East Village Prune restaurant presents an unflinching account of her search for meaning and purpose in the food-central rural New Jersey home of her youth, marked by a first chicken kill, an international backpacking tour and the opening of a first restaurant. 50,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2011/03/01
ISBN: 9781400068722
Branch Call Number: B HAMILTON
Characteristics: 291


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Dec 16, 2017

Such an inspirational, beautifully written, quirky, engaging food memoir. Actually, food and cooking is a thread that weaves the life of a chef cohesively through but it's not mainly a foodie-type memoir. As a food memoir-obsessed reader, this was less interesting about the food (except the Italian stories) and more about the grit and determination it takes to become someone so successful and so at peace. This is a triumph over tragedy story without any kind of whining or pity, making it a truly tender and delicious read.

Aug 10, 2017

If this is a meal- this is super heavy, dense, you're so full you feel that you are ready to fast for a few days!
Her stories are so meaty and spiced up with an astonishing array of details - good, bad, ugly and some might find weird but so real and funny at times.
I admire her courage and no nonsense take on life, kitchen, relationships and cooking.
love, love this one!

ArapahoeKati Mar 28, 2017

I guess I thought this would be more about cooking. Sure, there are cooking stories in here. And the writing is very strong and evocative. But it didn't feel like a chef's memoir. It felt like it was about a person who didn't really want to be a chef but ended up being one because it was the only job she kept accepting.

LPL_KateG Apr 27, 2016

I love books that are narrated well by the actual author. Hamilton takes us through her interesting childhood, tumultuous early adulthood, and into hitting her stride as a "reluctant" chef. Really enjoyed this one!

Dec 29, 2015

Fascinating life and way of living. Truly unique and original. Also, enjoyable to reconnect with a time before smartphones and the Internet. One of the best books I read this year.

Aug 17, 2015

The last disc is absolutely beautiful in its imagery. Great ending.

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 30, 2014

Gabrielle Hamilton may have been a reluctant chef but she certainly didn't hesitate to cook. Never formally trained, she developed her passion for food and feeding people from her French mother. Written in the same way that she runs her New York City restaurant, Prune—with great passion and fearless honesty—this is a rhapsodic, can't-put-down memoir that even non-foodies will enjoy.

Jul 11, 2013

Engaging warts-and-all memoir begins with the author's turbulent childhood in rural PA, where she was forced to find any job after both parents abandon their mostly-grown children. The only job she could find at 14 was in restaurant kitchen work, where the 'inadvertent education' begins. A drug-filled adolescence and early adulthood in NYC as a cocktail waitress and later as a catering drudge continue the food tutelage, until cooking becomes her go-to way of earning a living as she hones her writing skills. A bit scattered in chronology - suddenly there is mention of a husband and children when her previous relationships were with women - she bounces around her adulthood with tantalizing bits of story-telling, laid out like some crazy banquet. The writing is solid, though, and you don't need to be a foodie to dig in.

JCLBethanyT May 15, 2013

A great read for foodies and memoir fans alike--Hamilton touches on her fractured rural childhood, her wild days in coke-fueled NYC and her relationships alongside her experiences with food and her time as a restaurant owner. The author has a prescient wit and an eye for detail that brings this memoir to life.

JCLHopeH May 14, 2013

Hamilton has a pretty straight tone as a reader, which made me hesitant at first, but it’s true to her personality and works surprisingly well as a listener. I generally enjoy biographical pieces, and this was no exception. An interesting glimpse into a life far different from my own. I love food, I love travel, and I love learning about people’s lives that are so totally different from mine. Through Hamilton’s memoir I vicariously attempted various kitchen jobs, trounced about far away cities, and explored new relationships, all while gaining a greater appreciation for the craft of preparing a meal.

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Sep 12, 2017

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