Guest Editor: Chris Manganaro
copyright 2012 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc.
Food is unavoidable. It is in your face. It is likely that there is not a day that goes by in which people do not think of food to some extent. It is rather impossible to do so as our stomachs always tend to remind us that there is something tasty out there, waiting for us.
As food plays such a large part in life, it is not surprising that many memoirs often reflect on food in some way. The idea of a food memoir is not uncommon whether the author was influenced to pursue a career in the industry or not. Gabrielle Hamilton’s book Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef is not only one of these novels, but another take on it entirely. While these novels often feel similar to some extent, it is amazing the many different ways in which they reflect on foodstuffs. Hamilton’s novel has many interesting sides to it, including the fact that it is mostly unappetizing.
Hamilton’s story begins from childhood and spans most of her life, ending rather abruptly due to the fact that she still has life to live. This does make the book feel a bit anti-climactic, though. it does seem as if she tried to reach some sort of conclusion. Hamilton is always trying to figure things out, just as many people often do throughout their lives. We see her as a confused girl who grows up into a confused woman. As much as things change, they also tend to stay the same. Her character does not really change throughout the novel, yet she still is able to keep the reader intrigued with her endless observations and analysis.
(photo credit: www.madeinitalygroup.co.uk)
In discussing the gritty side of her life without shyness or embarrassment, there is a feeling of honesty in the piece. Unfortunately, due to her literally describing the excrement in her life, the book is hardly able to make one’s stomach growl. Despite her life being so influenced by food, we are barely exposed to it. When we are, it can be delightful and decadent, but it is in short bursts between rather bitter and terrible moments.
Photo Credit www.ichalcarper.com)
Her gruff exterior never falls away completely, but we still see different layers of Gabrielle. Through her restaurant, trips to Italy, and her interactions with others, we paint a fuller picture of her. This does end up feeling rather inadvertent at times, though, due to the fact that the vast majority of the book is spent inside her head. Here is where the recipe falls a bit flat. If she had let us get out of her head a smidgen more, to explore her surroundings, we may have been able to get even more out of the book. As it goes, such moments feel more like crumbs thrown haphazardly to the reader. The largest chunk of the novel is the narrator narrating.
What we get from this book is a whole new take on being a chef and restaurant owner nowadays. Hamilton’s life and experiences are different from those of other renowned chefs and she observes this fact and we can observe it through her thoughts. The way she writes is literary and reminds one of the fact that she has a Master’s degree in writing. Her words are deliberately delicious even if the content of the book is not always that way. It is worth a look if you want something a little different on your plate.
For more delicious recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition
June 18th -See you at my event as part of the Celebrity Chefs Dinner at Davios Restaurant in Philadelphia Pa
July 27-29-Atlantic City Gourmet Food and Wine Festival