Blood, Bones & Butter (Hamilton)

Book Reviews
Though Ms. Hamilton's brilliantly written new memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, is rhapsodic about food — in every variety, from the humble egg-on-a-roll sandwich served by Greek delis in New York to more esoteric things like 'fried zucchini agrodolce with fresh mint and hot chili flakes’—the book is hardly just for foodies. Ms. Hamilton, who has an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, is as evocative writing about people and places as she is at writing about cooking, and her memoir does as dazzling a job of summoning her lost childhood as Mary Karr's "Liars' Club" and Andre Aciman’s "Out of Egypt" did with theirs.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times


[L]uminous…Hamilton quickly proves that her decade-in-the-making work can live up to the extraordinary "best memoir by a chef ever" hype. That quote, by the way, is from the previous title holder, Anthony Bourdain...Hamilton...shares two of Bourdain's traits: a wicked, sometimes obscene sense of humor and a past checkered with drug use and crime. But as he admits in his jacket testimonial, she's the superior writer by a mile. To read Blood, Bones & Butter is to marvel at Hamilton's masterly facility with language.
Joe Yonan - Washington Post


Hamilton’s writing about food is so vivid it could make you half-crazed with hunger, leaving you in front of the open fridge with a cold chicken leg in one hand and the book in the other.
Boston Globe


Blood, Bones & Butter, more than any book I know, captures the essence of contemporary cool when it comes to food. This is what you'd read if you came here from another country (or from another decade) and wanted to know what people valued in dining.... Her vision is so aptly and evocatively written that it's hard not to succumb to its rough-hewn glamour. So preferable to the corporatized alternatives most Americans are stuck with—in both city and country alike—which is one reason for the book's almost certain success. And if Blood, Bones & Butter isn't made into a movie in the next 12 days, I will eat stilted food in sterile dining rooms for a week.
Time.com


(Starred review.) Owner and chef of New York's Prune restaurant, Hamilton also happens to be a trained writer (M.F.A., University of Michigan) and fashions an addictive memoir of her unorthodox trajectory to becoming a chef. The youngest of five siblings born to a French mother who cooked "tails, claws, and marrow-filled bones" in a good skirt, high heels, and apron, and an artist father who made the sets for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Hamilton spent her early years in a vast old house on the rural Pennsylvania–New Jersey border. With the divorce of her parents when she was an adolescent, the author was largely left to her own devices, working at odd jobs in restaurants. Peeling potatoes and scraping plates-"And that, just like that, is how a whole life can start." At age 16, in 1981, she got a job waiting tables at New York's Lone Star Cafe, and when caught stealing another waitress's check, she was nearly charged with grand larceny. After years of working as a "grunt" freelance caterer and going back to school to learn to write (inspired by a National Book Foundation conference she was catering), 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


The book’s subtitle should arouse interest. How was the author’s education inadvertent? What is the reason she was reluctant to become a chef? All will become clear upon completion of the final page of this lusty, rollicking, engaging-from-page-one memoir of the chef-owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village.... Add this to the shelf of chef memoirs but also recommend it to readers with a penchant for forthright, well-written memoirs in general. —Brad Hooper
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