tee's Reviews > Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
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's review
Jan 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: memoirs, e-pube
Read from January 20 to 27, 2012

During reading: I like memoirs and I like gay ladies and the funniest thing about Gabrielle Hamilton is that when you google her name the first site in the results is an AfterEllen.com piece about how she's a lesbian but married to a man and it's all so mysterious. So I got really excited thinking this would be a deliciously scandalous memoir about repressed dykeyness and how she figured because she really loved meat, she presumed she'd just really love the peen but it turned out that she was more of a fish burger kind of girl. BUT THEN THE AFTERELLEN PIECE SAYS THAT THIS BOOK FAILS TO DELIVER ON THAT FRONT.

So I thought, well I'll just read it until it stops being interesting. But she hasn't stopped being interesting yet (currently on page 65) and her childhood sounded delightful with weird family and a rambling country home and bizarre antics. I am horrified by her lack of empathy towards animals and being a (shit)vegan, am tut tutting a lot. In fact, I just reached a bit where she hacks away at a chicken trying to kill it. In fact, she arrived at this moment because she just really felt like killing an animal and this poor little chicken just happened to be the hen-pecked loser that she decided to put out its misery. See, I probably would have nursed the chicken back to good health, nourishing it with love until it regained its self esteem. It probably would have slept in my bedroom and been given a name and bandaids for its wounds. But because Gabrielle mentions that she has aqua-marine tipped braids, I think, well you sound kind of cute; perhaps I can overlook these foul (lol, fowl!) murderous urges that you have.

Then she writes this: "It's quite something to go bare handed up through an animal's ass and dislodge its warm guts. (...) I have since put countless suckling pigs - pink, with blue, querying eyes - the same weight and size of a pet beagle - into slow ovens to roast overnight so that their skin crisps and their still-forming bones melt into the meat, making it succulent and sticky." And so it continues.

Blue querying eyes.

Same size as a pet beagle.

Still forming bones.

I contemplate giving up reading because I can feel my gluten-free, vegan, low-fat felafel balls rising in my throat BUT I CAN'T LOOK AWAY. it's those aqua-marine dipped braids! And if I braved it through American Psycho, surely I can endure Hamilton's descriptions of bunny skinnings. Right? So, I will persevere until it gets boring. It's pretty much the rationale I use when entering a relationship, lord help the bastard when I get bored. They'd better start offending my vegan sensitivities by hacking up animals. Or dying their pubes blue. Better be a murderous, vibrantly decorated carnivore than be boring

After reading: Hrm, very close to a four star, so it's more like a 3.75. GABRIELLE GOT BORING. Whilst I actually found the book quite interesting, the final third dissolved into a weary whinge-fest about her marriage and how shit her husband is. The husband that she married (after identifying early in the book as a lesbian), presumably to ease his green card woes but then she spends the next decade wondering why they don't connect and why he isn't her dream Italian Italian lover. Also, I hate to say it (no, not really) but she didn't have the time to put into her relationship with her girlfriend but she found the time to have an affair? With a guy that you never seem to really like as much as you did your girlfriend? There's this seemingly immense lack of communication; I felt like grabbing her by the hair and screaming TALK TO EACH OTHER FFS, there's just her repressing everything she wants to say; even when it comes to her speaking on a panel about females in the chef profession. Speak god damn it, no wonder why you almost black out from your adrenalin rushes; all that repressed anger is going to give you a heart attack. You know, if all the lard and bacon grease doesn't.

Now I feel all judgmental but seriously, if you're going to write a memoir and have it digress into a nagging moan fest then I believe I have the right to have ~feelings~ about it. I say, keep that shit in therapy. I kind of liked her until she unravelled into domestic non-bliss. But at least that was not as vomiting inducing as the descriptions of human shit that she scrubbed off her restaurant's doorstep, or the dead rat that was pulsating with maggots.
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