LC Book Club: Blood, Bones & Butter

Blood, Bones, & Butter

Click here to join the discussion below.

Pull up a chair. Grab yourself a knife, a fork, and a—book? Yes! At Leite’s Culinaria, we aim to feed not just your body but also your mind, spirit, and sense of community. That’s why we’re launching the new online LC Book Club. Think of it as having a “Literary Lunch Break” with friends, rather than all by your lonesome. The first title for the Book Club? Gabrielle Hamilton’s much-hyped memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef (Random House, 2011).

Our Book Club discussion will take place starting Saturday, April 23, 2011, so you’ve got plenty of time to start reading. We’ll host the conversation over on our Twitter stream @LeitesCulinaria, using the hashtag #LCBookClub to unite readers in what we’re sure will be a spirited conversation about Hamilton’s memoir.

Of course, we’ll also field comments here, for those who either don’t have a Twitter account, or who would like to discuss the book in thoughts longer than 140 characters. If you plan on participating in the book club (here or on Twitter), or if you have thoughts to share about the Book Club in general, please take a moment to introduce yourself in the comments section below—we’d love to hear from you.

Finally: Participation counts. We’re happy to announce that a $100 certificate toward a meal at Prune, Hamilton’s NYC restaurant, will be given away at the end to one lucky (and active) participant; it’s our way of saying “Welcome to the (Book) Club!”

About Blood, Bones & Butter:

Not only did Hamilton’s sharply observed memoir earn a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, but Anthony Bourdain has gone on record saying that Blood, Bones & Butter “is, quite simply, the far-and-away best chef or food-genre memoir…ever. EVER,” and that it “kicked the hell out of my Kitchen Confidential.”

Enchanted and strange, inspiring and tough-as-nails, the book reveals Hamilton’s unconventional journey from being a somewhat lawless adolescent child of divorce in rural Pennsylvania to her opening of Prune, the incredibly successful restaurant she established in 1999 in New York City’s East Village.

In Blood, Bones & Butter, you’ll meet a French mother who cooked “tails, claws, and marrow-filled bones” in high heels, a father who built sets for the circus, and then follow Hamilton’s own various incarnations as waitress, freelance caterer, camp cook, graduate student, and restaurant entrepreneur. All with tightly crafted prose, the heat of the kitchen, and more than a pinch of emotional honesty.

Entertaining? Yes. But also food for deeper thought. We hope you’ll join our Book Club on April 23 and share your views of Hamilton’s memoir.

In the meantime, if you’re hungry for more, chow down on Gabrielle’s Brown Butter Pasta recipe or take a look at these Literary Lunch Break writings:


    1. Gilda, so glad you’re excited about the book club idea. We are, too! Looking forward to your participation.

      1. I relocated to Boston back in October. I’ve lived–and collected books–in many places. I subscribe to the Erasmus way of life: “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” I’ve never had any formal culinary training, but I love to take cooking classes and can usually be found in my kitchen cooking for humans or for my lucky dogs who eat homemade food!

        My taste buds are as eclectic as my taste in books! I enjoy reading “geeky” food books like Patricia Rain’s book Vanilla and Dan Koeppel’s Banana. I got pretty excited when Mark Bitterman’s Salted came out. I was born in Kentucky, so by rites, I have to love the essays of Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver as well. I have an obscene amount of cookbooks, but if I could only keep three, they’d probably be Dennis Cotter’s Cafe Paradiso Seasons, Amanda Hesser’s The New York Times Cookbook, and Donna Hay’s The Instant Cook. I love the Ottolenghi cookbooks, too!

        I’ve yet to find great restaurant food in Boston, but I’m a big fan of Flour’s treats and of Taza’s chocolate. I love street food, and most of my travels usually end up being all about the food. Some of my favorite restaurants include Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon (Thai food); Rise in Sydney, Australia (modern Japanese food); and Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky (best food I’ve ever had in the Midwest). Some of my favorite ingredients are tamarind, cardamom, and fresh fennel. I’m also a tea fanatic! Mariage Freres’ Marco Polo is near the top of my list, but I’ll never turn down a good cup of green tea with roasted rice.

        One of the best things I have ever eaten in my life would have to be the pistachio ginger creme brulee tart from Bourke Street Bakery in Sydney, Australia. I still dream about those and wish I could fly back right now to eat ten of them!

        I’m looking forward to chatting with others about food books!

        1. We have tea in common. (as well as cookbook collecting) My very favorite tea is Marriage Frères Legendes. You should give it a try. If you are not fortunate enough to live in Paris, it’s available online, through Dean and Deluca. I know you’ll love it.

          1. The teas look great, even the minimal selection at D&D. But, oh, god. Mariage Frères’ own site has tea jelly and tea chocolates and… matcha salt? Wow. Just another excuse to visit Paris, I guess. As if excuses were necessary. Thanks for chiming in, and hope you enjoy Blood, Bones & Butter with us.

        2. Julia, my brief response is hardly worthy of your great details, but I’ll say this much for now: you fit right in around here! Leite’s Loves… Taza for one thing, and I am with you on cardamom, fresh fennel, and genmaicha tea. Your Erasmus way of life resonates for me as well. We’re really looking forward to having you in the book club!

  1. Hello, everyone. Welcome to Leite’s Culinaria’s new online Book Club! Come April 23, I’ll have read Blood, Bones & Butter along with all of you, and will be discussing it here and on our Twitter Feed, under the hashtag #LCBookClub.

    Can’t wait to take this literary journey with you. Please do introduce yourselves below, and get reading—you’ve got some brilliant pages awaiting.

      1. Dorinne, welcome! Hope you’ll enjoy reading the book. We’re looking forward to your thoughts about it.

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