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Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton []



Hailed as “the best memoir by a chef ever” by Anthony Bourdain, and a NY Times Notable Book in 2010, this unusual memoir follows the life of Gabrielle Hamilton, now chef/owner of Prune in NYC. It is unusual in that Hamilton is such a good writer, and seemingly holds nothing back, allowing us to see the bad and ugly along with the good.
The quality of her writing is partially explained with her MFA from the University of Michigan, an experience she relates in ambivalent terms, “It’s a tired reading style…it attaches more importance to the words than the words themselves — as they’ve been arranged, could possibly sustain, and it gives poets and poetry a bad name. Which is not what I came to graduate school for; I want to forever admire poets.”
The bad and the ugly includes her wayward youth and relationship with her family after her parent’s divorce. How she develops from a lost girl to opening an award-winning restaurant in New York and a marriage with an Italian doctor (and his family), is a compelling story, with lots of detail of the food along the way, that never feels like it bogs down the story.
And here, as a treat to celebrate my last day before continuing on my journey, when we drove to the coast, past fields of shooting asparagus and trees about to burst forth, and we stopped finally at the water’s edge in St. Malo- here are platters of shellfish pulled that very morning from the sea-langouste, langoustines, moules, crevetted, huitres, bigorneaux, coques. These are the pearl-tipped hat pins stuck into a wine bottle cork for pulling to the meats of the sea snails. The tide ran out, and the fishing boats slumped in the mud attached to their slack anchors like leashed dogs sleeping in the yard. The particular smell of sea mud went up our nostrils as we slurped the brine from the shells in front of us, so expertly and neatly arranged on the tiers.

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