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Q&A with Gabrielle Hamilton, chef/author at upcoming Restaurant Eugene event

“Blood, Bones & Butter” by Gabrielle Hamilton is the memoir of the moment—deservedly so. Whatever your feelings about Anthony Bourdain, his hyperbole on the front cover—“Simply the best memoir by a chef ever. Ever.”—isn’t off the mark. She writes about her childhood, fragmented by her parent’s divorce; her run of cooking jobs that led to her own restaurant; and her atypical marriage with close detail and bittersweet (sometimes wonderfully coarse) humor. It’s told through the lens of food, of course, but it isn’t precious. What I love about the book is that Hamilton never veers into the soft-focus, feel-good trap of so many other culinary memoirs. Food is often a human comfort, but memoirs about cooking and eating are tiresome when they attempt succor without truthful storytelling. Hamilton, who earned an M.F.A. in writing at the University of Michigan, can also craft lovely prose. Describing the ravioli her Italian husband-to-be made for her soon after they met, she says, “They were small and delicate and a beautiful yellow from the yolks in the pasta dough and you could see the herbs and the ricotta through the dough, like a woman behind a shower curtain.”

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