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New Release: Blood, Bones & Butter

By Gabrielle Hamilton
Random House | 304pgs
Release Date: March 1, 2011

New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton traces her unlikely path to gastronomic success in her new memoir Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. The culinary entrepreneur spent her early childhood living with bohemian parents in rural Pennsylvania. But, her family fell apart during her early teens when her parents divorced, leaving Hamilton and her brother largely on their own. Though she became a bit of a wild child, experimenting with drugs, she was always drawn to the food business, and moved to New York at 16 to work as a waitress. She moved through several restaurant and catering jobs, and later back-packed through France, Greece and Turkey, often relying on meals provided by generous strangers to stave of her hunger. The culmination of all these experiences prompted Hamilton to open her small 30-seat restaurant Prune in the East Village during the late 1990′s. The chef had never ran a restaurant before, but achieved enormous success with the small eatery, winning acclaim with critics and the patronage of serious foodies. Her memoir, like her restaurant, emphasizes the link between food and human comfort. In Prune, Hamilton created a place where your server “would bring you something to eat or drink that you didn’t even ask for when you arrived cold and early and undone by your day in the city.”

What Critics are saying:

Along with her culinary talent, Hamilton has also earned an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan. Several critics have raved about the chef’s way with words. “To read Blood, Bones & Butter is to marvel at Hamilton’s masterly facility with language,” writes Joe Yonan in a review for The Washington Post. Though not all critics were enamored with her prose. Rob Brunner of Entertainment Weekly admonishes the author for “a lot of sloppy writing, pointless repetition and samey sentences.” In spite of their differences, most critics agree that Hamilton has crafted a truly compelling read.

Read an excerpt.

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