When I last ate at the great 30 seat Prune in New York City, Martina Navratilova was in there, sitting about 5 feet from our table. There, after sharing a huge steak with her girlfriend, the great tennis player began openly making out with her paramour with an enviable wine-fueled abandon.
I say this as an appropriate lead-in to my whole-hearted recommendation of the newish book by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef and owner of Prune Restaurant. BB&B is an eccentric and must read literary memoir of Hamilton's wild and "who'da ever thunk it" highly successful life.
In other words, Hamilton's circuitous path to celebrity NYC chef/restauranteur includes: a bizarre and close-to-the-earth youth spent in a way- out-in-the woods house she calls "the ruin" where she was raised by an impractical artist father and a French mom who taught her to eat bone marrow and snails at a crazy early age ; cokeheading teenage years and scary legal trouble; unstructured, broke and starving trips around the world; an MFA in creative writing from Michigan (her description of Midwestern uptightness has an all too familiar ring to it); painful, dead-end catering gigs for high-end companies (who serve,say, the king of Thailand); long term lesbianism and then marriage and children; plus a bunch of other convention-shattering stuff you should discover for yourself!
And you'll want to, given Hamilton's amusingly blunt, profane, BS-calling and utterly in-your-face writing style. That original voice is perfectly summed up by her book's title, which sounds like viscera-loosening rumbles on a bass drum-- or maybe dramatic blurts on a screeching trumpet.
For instance, Hamilton describes why she quit shopping at farmers markets in person because of people like the inevitable annoying LOOK HOW LOCAL I AM girl "on the bicycle, wandering along from stall to stall with two apples, a bouquet of lavender, and one bell pepper" who is making a big production of herself and "admiring the way her purchases are artfully arranged for all to see".
Buy this book now!