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Chef Life

Comparisons between Gabrielle Hamilton’s acclaimed food memoir Blood, Bones, & Butter and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential are easy to make. Both contain the seedy underbelly of a gourmand’s life, from maggots in the kitchen to the chef’s predication for a white powder that is not flour or sugar. Like Bourdain, Hamilton lived hard and fast, dabbling in drugs and felonies, and traveling the world. But in addition to owning and cooking for her popular restaurant, Prune in New York’s East Village, this food memoirist has an MFA in creative writing and a peculiarly epicurean childhood. She was raised in a crumbling “castle” in rural Pennsylvania by two eccentric parents: her father, a circus set designer; and her mother, a French ex-ballet dancer. Together they threw boho, hedonistic dinner parties out in the woods, with whole lambs roasted on spits, and wine and beer chilling in a nearby creek. This unfussy and sensuous enjoyment of food stayed with Hamilton while she survived many a kitchen and when she opened Prune. Peek behind the line cooks at her extraordinary life and, perhaps just as exceptional, her clever way with words. Hamilton will appear at Books & Books Wednesday.
Wed., March 23, 8 p.m., 2011


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