Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gabrielle Hamilton

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village and the author of Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. She received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, GQ, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and Food & Wine.

From her Q & A at the Guardian:

How did you come to write Blood, Bones and Butter?

I spent the first three and a half years resisting, denying that I was writing a memoir and erasing two thirds of what I was writing because in every lit class I've ever taken the category of memoir is dismissed, demeaned, and considered weak, confessional, and "girly". Then I spent another six months savaging what little work I had managed to produce. Then I had a frank conversation with myself in which I admitted that I was not as talented as I wish I was. This gave me the permission to just do my absolute best within my limited skill set. I also made a commitment to write "hospitably", as I have been trained to be in the kitchen – to do everything I could to take care of and to serve the reader as I would take care of and serve a guest in my restaurant. In essence, I did everything I could to remove my own ego and apprehensions and just be the person who – metaphorically speaking – cooks the food and cleans up afterwards.

What was most difficult about it?

How to evoke both the romance and nostalgia of something that I was simultaneously mourning the loss of and regarding with a jaundiced eye, and then to maintain a voice that I could bear to listen to for 85,000 words. I listened to this advice from my friend David Young: "The voice? The voice is you talking to the smartest person you know about...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue