Good Books: Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones, and Butter

So you want to read about being a chef? Here's a rare find—a straightforward memoir straight from a talented writer who's also an incredible chef.

You won’t find many books by professional quarterbacks who also happen to be good writers (George Plimpton, after all, never really played professionally). When it comes to eating, the same is true. Compelling farm lit is rarely written by farmers—the philosopher Yi-Fu Tuan writes in Topophilia that hardly any agrarian books in the history of mankind have been written with callused hands—and great chefs are rarely great writers.

Which is what makes Gabrielle Hamilton’s debut memoir Blood, Bones, and Butter so refreshing. Not only is she is a competent chef, but she is also an extraordinary storyteller. Hamilton, the chef and owner at Prune, a tiny, unpretentious restaurant in lower Manhattan, takes us chronologically through her life—growing up in New Jersey, attending grad school for creative writing, traveling the world, and finally opening a restaurant.

She's no stranger to telling difficult truths about what really goes on behind kitchen doors, or about the real passion it takes to cook professionally. In 2008, one of her memorable essays, “Line of Sight,” which appears in Amanda Hesser’s excellent book Eat, Memory, recalls the time she let a blind line-cook work at Prune, an experience that tested her patience and our culture's ethical boundaries. (It elicited a stinging rebuke from advocacy groups for the visually impaired.)

Blood, Bones, and Butter showcases her talents with stories that are at once provocative and entertaining. The book opens with a family lamb roast and spirals into a whirlwind adventure of divorces, dish-washing, and Dutch hostels. When she starts her own restaurant, it’s out of happenstance—as if, hey, this could happen to anyone on a hectic morning in the city. What's clear throughout: She's writing and cooking out of a genuine love for food. She's not afraid to love an old Italian vecchio who sells her produce in Puglia, compare brunch service in Manhattan to the Indy 500, or talk about the pressure of cooking for Jacques Pépin.

If the book has any shortcomings, it’s that Hamilton strikes a particular tone—the uncompromising, knowing voice of someone who's seen it all—early on and maintains it over many chapters. Reading the book in one sitting can feel a bit like listening to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on repeat. That said, it's a rare chef memoir that rocks at all.

You should check out Gabrielle Hamilton's book tour dates here and buy the book here.

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Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.