People who work with information, folks like you and me, are constantly in danger of becoming obsessed with jobs that involve working with things. The reason I love chef books is that the job seems so tangible. You work with your hands and your brain to create something, a product that can be tasted.
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton, is not the typical chef, restaurant or food book. With Hamilton, food is always a metaphor for relationships (usually screwed up).
I'll most likely never eat at Hamilton's NYC restaurant, Prune (her childhood nickname from a now estranged mother). Prune's food sounds delicious, the anti-foodie culture refreshing, but I doubt I'm hip enough or knowledgeable enough about food to appreciate her cooking.
Reading Blood, Bones & Butter is as close as I'll get to Hamilton's cooking, and the sensual experience that I imagine Prune provides. This is a book about how a person with deep relationship issues, issues with roots is a dysfunctional and then broken family, can simultaneously succeed gloriously (in both cooking/restauranteering and writing), and fail spectacularly (at creating a marriage). Hamilton is ballsy enough to provide us something of an unvarnished glimpse into the most brutal and ugly aspects of dining out (particularly catering food), and marriage.
Blood, Bones & Butter will be polarizing. Some readers will love it (I did), some will find Hamilton so unappealing as a personality that the book will leave a bad aftertaste. Some people will feel both at once. Whatever the verdict, I think everyone will agree that Hamilton can flat-out write.
Read Blood, Bones & Butter, and tell us how it goes down for you.
What are you reading?