We're starting the year in style by choosing the memoir so stellar, it inspired us to create Chow Bella Book Club. We're reading Blood Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton this month and it will be capped off with a visit from the author herself. We are beyond excited.
If you happened to miss all the buzz last year about BBB, don't worry. The paperback is now out and you can start another wave of love.
More about BBB and Chow Bella Book Club meeting date/time after the jump.
Hamilton is chef/owner of a popular little restaurant in New York City called Prune. She's so popular, in fact, that she won the 2011 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef in New York City. Anthony Bourdain called her book "Magnificent. Simply the best memoir by a chef ever. Ever." She's basically a culinary rock star of the highest order.
Hamilton is not only a chef but a writer, too. She enrolled in the master of fine arts program in fiction writing at the University of Michigan in 1995. It's considered one of the best programs for creative writing in the country.
We get to read about her early years with her family filled with fantastic parties and sack lunches (that were made by her French born mother) that were nothing like the P.B. and J's that most kids carried around in their backpacks -- think wedges of fine French cheese that soak right through the paper bag.
Hamilton's work-ethic and focus on hospitality is something to be admired. In the book we travel with her around the world to France, Greece, Turkey and Italy. We see her in front-of-the-house positions to back-of-the-house jobs in bars, restaurants, and catering facilities. We follow her culinary "education" and its culmination at her opening of Prune in New York City.
So much about Hamilton seems unconventional, from her outlook on life and being a female chef, to her unique relationship with her husband. Yet she thrives on routine and order in the kitchen and finds such pleasure in the simplest of traditional recipes.
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This book is written so beautifully but not behind rose-colored glasses. She spills her guts and all the real and rough challenges. Hamilton is smart and witty and makes us want to jump on a plane to hitch a ride with her and spend summers in Italy, too.
Mark your calendars, we'll be discussing Blood, Bones and Butter on February 7th at 7 p.m. here on Chow Bella, we would love to "see" you there. Need to grab a copy of the book?, Changing Hands Bookstore will hook you up with a 20% discount for all Chow Bella Book Club readers.
Jennifer Woods is a freelance food writer -- an Arizona native who has lived and worked in the food industry (in one way or another) in the Valley for the last 11 years. She is currently a work-from-home-mom who loves to cook, eat, read about food, support local food producers and share that love with her husband and two small kids.