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Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Gabrielle Hamilton

Narrated By: Gabrielle Hamilton

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: March 2011

Duration: 10 hours 5 minutes


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Miami Herald • Newsday • The Huffington Post • Financial Times • GQ • Slate • Men’s Journal • Washington Examiner • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews • National Post • The Toronto Star • BookPage • Bookreporter

“I wanted the lettuce and eggs at room temperature . . . the butter-and-sugar sandwiches we ate after school for snack . . . the marrow bones my mother made us eat as kids that I grew to crave as an adult. . . . There would be no ‘conceptual’ or ‘intellectual’ food, just the salty, sweet, starchy, brothy, crispy things that one craves when one is actually hungry. In ecstatic farewell to my years of corporate catering, we would never serve anything but a martini in a martini glass. Preferably gin.”
Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and the magnificence of the one from her childhood that, in her adult years, eluded her. Hamilton’s ease and comfort in a kitchen were instilled in her at an early age when her parents hosted grand parties, often for more than one hundred friends and neighbors. The smells of spit-roasted lamb, apple wood smoke, and rosemary garlic marinade became as necessary to her as her own skin.

Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, 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; the soulless catering factories that helped pay the rent; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen 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 difficult and prickly marriage that nonetheless yields rich and lasting dividends.

Blood, Bones & Butter is an unflinching and lyrical work. Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion. By turns epic and intimate, it marks the debut of a tremendous literary talent.


  • Natalie Magleby

    Interesting read that kept me hungry and inspired to try some new things in the kitchen. Well written but narration was rather flat.

  • graftonqueen

    First of all, the author's voice as a reader really threw me off. I did not like her voice at first, at all. But as the story progressed, I became used to it and rather than put me to sleep, as I thought such a monotone voice would do, I was enthralled and waiting for the next development in Gabrielle Hamilton's life, so far. I also waffled between being extremely interested and extremely frustrated with this woman. I finally came to the conclusion after finishing the book and thinking about it for a day or two, that Gabrielle Hamilton has written an accurate reflection of herself as a human being - a complicated, mercurial, committed, and hard working autobiography as she is herself a person and a chef. Don't get in her way because she is going right through you! I ended up liking her story and hating her story, but who cares? It's her life and she certainly has succeeded and failed in different areas as have we all. Nice job, Gabrielle, putting it down on paper! Thanks for sharing.

  • Shelly

    I absolutely agree with every word the previous reviewer KQuinn said. This book is a foodie's delight and should be mandatory reading for anybody - especially women - contemplating a foray into the restaurant business. Wish she'd write another. I'd love to learn more about her Iron Chef battle, culinary awards, rise to restaurant fame, and also how things turned out with her Italian Italian husband, who was fading out of the picture at the end of this book. Extremely well written and highly recommended.

  • KQuinn

    This was really good. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I couldn't wait to get back in the car to hear more of it. I love the whole food/chef/culinary thing, so I was enthralled with that part of it, but after listening to this book, I have a much better understanding of what those involved in the field actually mean when they say food and cooking is their "passion." Hamilton's memoir is deeply personal, and very well written. She has a Bourdain-like ferocity and integrity, but in her own authentic voice. Highly recommended.

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

by Gabrielle Hamilton

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