Read online Blood Bones and Butter The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef AUTHOR Gabrielle Hamilton – xermadeenfotos.org
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E my husband and I enjoy going to restaurants and pretending to be gourmands or we did before we had children As the waiter explains in painstaking detail that the duck is prepared in the insert method way and the mushrooms are from insert exotic locale we nod and nod as though we understand It was beneficial to have the perspective of an actual connoisseur And husband the gig is upThere was also a good deal about her personal life during which my interest fluctuated dramatically I was a straight laced kid so the tales of her rebellious youth could be titillating But I did feel that the childhood section was drawn out Thereafter I thought she held back She had a large family growing up yet only spoke of a few members as an adult What happened She has or had an unconventional relationship with her husband She offhandedly mentioned that they didn t move in together after their courthouse wedding and were still living apart when she gave birth to their first child I wanted of that I feel invasive asking for such details of a stranger s life and her family s but the memoir didn t feel complete without themI agree that it was right for the food to be the focus And I can imagine her publisher enforcing this emphatically Yet I would have appreciated at least better allocation of the personal word count less childhood and explanation of monumental adult relationshipsUltimately the best way to gauge one s reaction to this book is probably to ask a third uestion 3 Do you want to eat at Hamilton s restaurant PruneThe next time I am in New York sure I d like to go Although given the success of her book it might be a royal pain to get a dinner reservation Toward the end of Hamilton s interminable chef memoir she admits to having a certain sense of Gallic superiority to the rest of the world Hoo boy is that an understatement While Hamilton s recollections of her unconventional childhood and rise to celebrity as the owner of Prune offer up a credible pastiche of MFA style literary writing the author s personality is so off putting that I found the book nearly unreadableWhen Hamilton is talking about cooking or about the restaurant industry and its uirks she s very nearly engaging that is if one can overlook her arty tendency to switch between first person past and second person present tense narrative on the turn of a very thinly sliced wafer of pancetta Hamilton s narrative style rests on the piling on of rich layers of detail however yet throughout long passages of the book I found myself distrusting the accuracy of those details I raised an eyebrow for example when she described driving down from Ann Arbor Michigan across 8 Mile Road into downtown Detroit a nice shout out to one of Detroit s infamous landmarks but a geographically dubious route into the city And it s outright disingenuous of her to spout foodie nonsense about how her childhood once a week dessert was a single suare of really good imported chocolate or a lightly sweetened slice of buttered bread when she s mentioned only a few pages before gorging on Tastykakes If one can t trust the details what exactly can one relate to in a memoir like thisCertainly not the thorn skinned author herself A similar tone of superiority mars a good deal of the narrative Hamilton dislikes children and their preference for French fries and macaroni and cheese over that single suare of really good chocolate or any of the exotic fares she serves in Prune she s dismissive of their parents and indeed of anyone who will eat less than gourmet fare instead of skipping a meal altogether She spends a large portion of the book secretly mocking and sniggering at her graduate school comrades only to turn around and ustify the behavior by accusing them of condescending to her And the meandering last third of her book turns on the cold fury she experiences and the subseuent two week silent treatment she gives to her long suffering husband when he mentions that he d like to buy a new iPhone There really is some minutiae that probably should be left out of a memoir apparently On my copy of this book there was a gushing uote from Anthony Bourdain Magnificent Simply the best memoir by a chef ever EverI respectfully disagree I thought Gabrielle Hamilton s memoir was uneven and a bit messy Some parts were well written and engaging and other parts were so tedious that I couldn t wait to be done with the book Sometimes Gabrielle explains herself well other times she is maddeningly vague and obtuse She comes across as both empathetic and also arrogant Some stories made her sound so cocky and bitter that it was hard to sympathize when her marriage went southThis memoir covers Gabrielle s childhood her lessons in cooking from her French mother her early experiences of working in the food service industry her time in graduate school her adventure of opening up Prune her restaurant in New York s East Village her love affairs and her marriage to an Italian man There are some uicy stories here there are beautiful descriptions of food there are some thoughtful passages on finding meaning in life and work and relationships There were also times when I was so frustrated with the author that I considered abandoning the book Now that I am finished I am glad I read this memoir but it was not a wholly enjoyable experience Sort of like a good meal with an obnoxious dinner companion I d still like to visit her restaurant thoug. Itchen 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 prickly marriage that nonetheless yields lasting dividends By turns epic and intimate Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty grit humor and passio.
Y In those pages a wild child thrives in an eccentric and artisticbohemian family struggles through her parents failed marriage sets out on her own and makes ust about every mistake a rebel could make and then begins to find herself in the sensual and spiritual world of kitchen work Chef Gabrielle has a life long spiritual affinity with food and service and tells wonderful sometimes harrowing stories as she starves her way through Europe slogs her way through the horrors of tourist trap kitchens and industrial catering slugs her way through a creative writing program and finally finds herself the naive but enthusiastic owner of her own restaurant I was pretty sure I d fallen in love with her Then at page 159 and upon meeting her husband to be her education inadvertent as it may have been as a chef reluctant as she may have been ends The second half of the memoir is the story of the first half of a marriage doomed to failure It s odd but the story doesn t resolve except in some weird slump of resignation somehow maybe she mentions the fact or alludes to it I knew the marriage was going to end but we don t get there and we re left hanging half way through The story the Chef decides to tell has its moments and the best of them are around food and her husband s family but the stories become repetitive as do the ever widening cracks in the marriage and the 130 some pages become an endless series of poor me s It s a story of a slow suffocation not pleasant beyond a chef s education and the necessary personal pronouns of memoir get really really tiresome Chef Gabrielle even spends the bulk of a chapter telling us what she should have said at a conference at the CIA on women in the restaurant profession A chapter of second thoughts That s where she really started to loose me and though I hoped for some writerlyculinary magic that would bring the sauce back together ultimately I wanted the book to end and I didn t care how What a shame The education of a chef was interesting soulful and moving the education of a wife and mother wasn t I often rate books but seldom actually comment on them I also rarely give a book one star so I feel I must Im Not Millie! justify it a little So the subtitle is the Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef That s a little misleading I didn t really notice any reluctance Everyob she ever had was in food service And in her only non food experiment the MFA she ended up deciding she d rather be in food service With the exception of a few early stories about her mother she really didn t explain any of her food education either She kept saying how hard the Salvation: A Novel (Salvation Sequence) job was and how she had put in her time but after the stories about her mother sheust listed the restaurants she worked in but didn t respect the caterers she she worked for and didn t respect the MFA caterers she didn t respect and a random lucky incident that led to her own restaurant Where was the education It did seem inadvertent however which I guess is a good thing Also and maybe this is what really disappointed me her book took me from really wanting to try her restaurant to never wanting to try her restaurant During the course of the book among other things she 1 Lied to get her A River of Royal Blood (A River of Royal Blood, jobs2 Stole large amounts from her employers and spent the money on coke3 Didn t have the decency to treat a girlfriend of many years with respect on the way to an unfortunate break up4 Married a man she admitted she didn t love and didn t really try to who married as a form of performance art and then lamented the fact that she didn t have a picture perfect relationship with him and couldn t co opt his family 5 Spent an hour driving around brooklyn in a low blood sugar induced rage yelling at her spouse in front of her small children rather than eat a mediocre mealBy the end of the book the author struck me as short tempered self absorbed and willing to hurt others on a whim While I m sure her restaurant is very good the portrait she has drawn of herself does not seem trustworthy she has left a lot of wreckage in her wake and there is nothing at the end to make me feel better No bit of self examination that gives me hope that she s changing She is certainly a strong person and I praise her for her success And its her life so she certainly she shouldn t change if she s happy the way she is But I can t help but have a suspicion during some lean year her willingness to bend the rules and hurt people will eventually migrate into her kitchen And I don t want to be eating at her restaurant when it happens Whenever I read an autobiography I find myself asking these two basic uestions1 Can they write2 Is their life interesting enough to warrant a book Because I ll be honest mine is notTo the first uestion Hamilton can write She earned an MFA for whatever you think that s worth I enjoyed both the crispiness of the details as well their selection and amount She was also good at analyzing herself her life s trajectory and the food industryRegarding the second uestion I had mixed feelings The primary focus of the book is her varied culinary career She begins in the kitchen of her French mother and with herobs waitressing moves on to the drudgery of catering companies describes the creation of her own restaurant and its inspirations and ends cooking withfor in laws at their Italian villa The former sections were okay for me It was the last two stages that I found most interesting likely becaus. Hildhood 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; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune with its many unexpected challenges; and the
The alternate title for this book I Have an Italian Husband But I Totally Didn t Mean To and Other Reasons Why I m Totally a Legitimate ChefAt first Hamilton tries to take the Feminist Answer to Anthony Bourdain angle I never wanted to be a chef I was a bad girl druggie I was in the kitchen being vulgar and sexual with all the male cooks in my kitchen but I was also educated Unfortunately Bourdain actually has wit something that Hamilton is sorely lacking some of her stories are interesting but they constantly give the impression that she wants us to think of her as extremely deep and meaningful She must have found out this doesn t work because she switches tactics halfway through the book and becomes that one friend you knew in school if you lived in a small town she s the one telling you she s related to Princess Di that she visits London every spring Transnasal Endoscopic Skull Base and Brain Surgery just in time for the roses and the horse races and oh my god if you ve never had a REAL mintulep you haven t liiiiived darling Her locale of choice is Italy Partially because of her Accidental Italian Husband but we don t talk very much and we re not romantic she assures us but mostly because it s the perfect backdrop for her to brag about her Totally Rustic and Real Italian Family and how she never buys produce from anyone but the old man on the side of the road because stores are too clueless and farmer s markets are for hipstersbut she fails to realize that she s a foodie hipster herself denouncing everything but the Rustic and Authentic and Undiscovered as if food is some sort of secret only for those who pass some sort of culinary test of wills that apparently involves beheading chickens somehow Yeah we know Gabrielle your mother was French your husband s Italian and you re in the boys club of chefs even though GODDAMN IT S SO HARD TO DO WHILE WRANGLING TWO KIDS Maybe if you want to feel legitimized as a chef and not a female chef you should take your own advice and focus on what you do rather than your oh so uniue womanly struggles or the fact that you use your family to give yourself permission to cookit d probably be a less eye rolling read anyway I loved this book Loved it At first I thought this was going to be another memoir about how I fell in love with cooking during my already privileged life But this one is different Gabrielle is real She has had an extraordinarily non traditional and rough upbringing and is unflinchingly honest about it So her story is interesting but what I loved most wasn t her uniue story but that she is a really really good writer Beautiful I would say So once I got on board and realized that I slowed down I savored this book as I would any delicious meal This is the second book today I ve found that I have read and rated and has disappeared from my shelves This is freaky There is a thread on it I ve written to support and got nothing back Obviously I am not deleting all these books This is so fucking weird and upsetting I ust don t know what to doThe other book is Voluntary Madness My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin The author is aware that her frigid French ballerina mother is fully responsible for her prepare yourselves cause I m gunna say it Freudian obssession with fresh and authentic cooking and she illustrates this without making us wallow with her in endless therapy sessions I loved revisiting NY s East Village circa 1988 rat carcasses and all with her as a tour guide almost as much as her fairytale trips to Italy with its villas oregano scented air and 80 year old matrons making pasta and vegetables in female dominated kitchensHer descriptions of U of M s writing program are very funny and accurately depict participants in writing MFA programs everywhere Oh that self indulged sing songy I m invoking the MUSES everyone reading voice God help me it makes me homicidalThe food porn is tantalizing and she skates flirtatiously around the subject of her sexual orientation so freuently that the reader doesn t really care too much either way by the end of the book which might have been her goal all along The Kindle edition was superb for its ability to let me insta Google the obscure ingredients she mentions This made me want to cook amazing new things and actually clean up afterwards which I ve never enjoyed so much The author s description of her own crazy work ethic is sexy enough to inspire me to WANT to scrub the grout behind the fridge Powerful writing indeed I think it went something like thisAgent to Gabrielle Hey you ve had a famous restaurant for a while now and you ve never been on the Food Network Iron Chef etc why not hop on the bandwagon and write a memoirG to Agent Gee I ve been keeping ournals all my life why not sure I m gonna do itThis book pissed me off almost as much as Eat Pray Love Self referential a word she uses a lot snobby totally devoid of any spark of humor This woman doe Once a sauce breaks it s almost impossible to bring it back together again Chefs have their tricks but even with tricks there s no guarantee and no guarantee the sauce will hold Most likely it won t The unfortunate separation in Blood Bones Butter occurs at the half way mark Of course I write this at the risk of being way too clever and maybe it is but I m saddened that Chef Gabrielle Hamilton wasn t able to hold her memoir together She had me totally had me for the first 158 pages of this 291 page book Pages are for the review cop. Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune she spent twenty hard living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life Blood Bones Butter follows an unconventional ourney through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years the rural kitchen of her