The Life Story Of Chef Gabrielle Hamilton

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Chef Gabrielle Hamilton (© Melissa Hamilton)
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton (© Melissa Hamilton)

If you're looking for a good food read, we might recommend Chef Gabrielle Hamilton's memoir, out in paperback this month.

When "Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef" first came out last year, it drew praise from peers.

Chef Anthony Bourdain called it "simply the best memoir by a chef ever."

Gabrielle writes about growing up in rural Pennsylvania in a romantic, converted old silk mill, the daughter of a french ballerina, who ruled the house with an oily wooden spoon, and a set designer father, who at the yearly spring lamb roast they threw for neighbors and fancy New York friends, would slowly baste lambs from a clean metal paint can, filled with olive oil, crushed rosemary garlic and chunks of lemon.

"All day long as we did our chores, the smell of gamey lamb, applewood smoke and rosemary garlic marinade commingled and became etched into our brains. I have clung to it for 30 yeas, that smell. I have chronic summer time yearning to build large fires outdoors and slowly roast whole animals. I could sit fireside and baste until sundown," she writes.

But when she was 13, Gabrielle's parents divorced spectacularly. As she writes, her menopausal, rage-filled mom decamps to Vermont and Gabrielle is left to fend for herself.

As Hamilton told us, "I kind of learned to cook by opening jars and cans of strange things my mother had left behind."


  • Gabrielle Hamilton, chef and author

This segment originally aired on March 9, 2011.

This segment aired on January 16, 2012.


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