Bossy Italian Book Review: Blood, Bones & Butter

I have been doing a lot of reading lately, as it was part of my new year's resolution to read more... you know, feed the brain and stuff. A girlfriend of mine suggested I read this book--she thought that I would love it because of my appetite for literature as well as food. (She would know, she is a fellow foodie!) Anyway, the book is by Gabrielle Hamilton who is a self-admited reluctant chef... which begs the question, is there any other kind?!

For me, cooking has been [and remains] a journey and one that has really brought me to myself. Like me, the author connects her cooking with her childhood, even the parts that left a bad taste in her mouth. There are several things that make this book a great read. First of all, the dimension. This book, like the author, is not just one thing or another.... it's not just a memoir about her life, it's not just a memoir about her family, and it's not just a memoir about cooking. It's all of it. Which is how life happens, and she captures that beautifully.

This book is also nothing if not honest and that is one of the things that I love about a good book. The moment where I am reading and feel compelled to read an excerpt to my husband is a sign that a book has impressed me. There are such honest and raw moments in Blood, Bones, and Butter that you want to just grab the author, give me a hug and say, "Thank you--I didn't have the guts to say this!" Hamilton is so unapologetic for who she is that inspires authenticity, as any good book should.

The food. I love the way she talks about food in her down to earth, non-pretentious way. Some people can get really snobby about food and the next thing you know you're feeling like they are perverting something you love while simultaneously making you feel the size of a thimble. Gabrielle Hamilton doesn't do that at all. She can appreciate a good sandwich as much as an awesome foie gras. This makes her a real person, and some rich person disguised as an "every man." I found it refreshing.

The quality of the work. Some people have great stories, but lack writing skills, but Hamilton has both, making this book a rare jewel for both the memoir world and the culinary world...but it makes sense. She got a Master's Degree in writing. Still, some of those people can come out sounding more like Ayn Rand (you know, they can put a bunch of fancy words in a row, but it just sounds like shit) than having a true, authentic writing voice. You can hear her voice loud and clear, and it's beautiful.

For anyone who enjoys reading memoirs, this book is for you. For anyone who has a family that has given them pause, this book is for you. If you love food, and you have a passion for REAL food discussion, you will positively devour the pages. You will be impressed by the story and wooed by her words. And in the end, you will be left hungry for more.... 

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