Blood, Bones and Butter: A Book Review

201106271511.jpgBlood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton was the June Kitchen Reader selection, chosen by Aileen of Pharma Foodie.

I’ve been loving food memoirs lately. I love reading about how chefs have found themselves over the stove. Many began cooking and discovered their love for food at an early age. Since that isn’t something I personally experienced, I enjoy getting that peek into their young lives.

Like many chefs, Gabrielle Hamilton began learning about food as a child. She never intended to be a chef, but events and decisions made throughout her life led her down the kitchen path, giving the book the subtitle “The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.” However, her passion for food is evident throughout the text, and I found myself wanting to study certain passages in order to improve my own food writing.

This book is more than just a food memoir, however. When Hamilton gets outside the kitchen, she writes about family, love and relationships. She is upfront and honest, discussing the dissolution of her family and her unhappy marriage. Her descriptions of her travels make me yearn to go back to Italy and reminded me to focus on high-quality, simple ingredients.

I give this memoir 4 stars out of 5. If you’re looking for a food- and relationship-focused memoir, I can’t recommend this one enough.


  1. says

    i have a little pile of books for you to take with you when you come visit. a few of them are food/cooking memoirs! WOOT!

    can you bring me Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?


  2. says

    I love your statement…..”I found myself wanting to study certain passages in order to improve my own food writing.” She is descriptive but not in a way that you realize at first. She makes you want to reread it just to make sure you got it ALL. I enjoyed it, also, and always continue to be amazed at the hours chefs are willing to work to master their craft and cater to their clients! Happy Reading!!

    • says

      I agree with Lisa: the descriptions were sparse sometimes but they were also somehow eloquent and apt. on the dust jacket of my copy are loads of other food writers saying how they wished they could write like Hamilton… and I too wish I could write similarly to her!

    • says

      I’m jumping on this train, too. It took me a while to write my own post because I felt it had to be thoughtful enough for such a well-written book.

      And if you finish this book without a pang of longing for an Italian villa, there’s something wrong.