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"Blood Bones & Butter" Book Club Discussion 1 of 2

Blood Bones And Butter

First Posted: 02/12/2012 12:01 pm Updated: 02/16/2012 3:00 pm


Join our discussions below about the first half of "Blood, Bones and Butter." Click here to learn more.

Here's a little about who you'll be hearing from...

Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor
I'm British, so anything you think I've spelled wrong, is actually just spelled older. I look for stories to take my brain into new spaces, and I'll be particularly discussing the facts as we think we know them, and the clues I think we're being given by the story. Let me know if you think I'm wrong! I'll also be choosing a few facts to use as jumping-off points for tangential discussions.

Zoë Triska, Associate Books Editor
I was a Literature major so I can't help analyzing every single thing (from the syntax and language to metaphors, similes, you name it). I (reluctantly) admit that I'm one of those people who Googles phrases, places, names every couple of pages when I'm reading. There are constantly things that stump me, though so I'd love to hear your thoughts on the significance of words, places, phrases, events that take place in the book.

Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor
I like looking at language particularities, but in case you think that's a snooze (you wouldn't be alone), I'm also interested in reading what critics say about books and whether their reviews are spot on or way off. Let's talk about it.

Annemarie Dooling, Community Editor
Quotes, locations and descriptions speak to me the same way characters do. I love dissecting the same details that tell us more about the story than the actual prose. If you read the same books over and over and over again the same way you visit an out-of-town friend, we're going to get along just fine.

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Chapters 10, 11 and 12 will be discussed over here, starting at 4.30pm EST on Sunday, March 4th 2012. Come and join the discussion!

And don't forget, if you've finished the book already, you can talk about it here, with as many spoilers as you like.

This page will remain online for anyone reading the book in the future. Thanks for reading with us!

-- Andrew Losowsky

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@ askanyone : A real first: Three people on this subway car reading Blood, Bones & Butter. Kindle right, HC left, PB across.

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As we concluded chapter 8 and jump into chapter 9, we see the beginnings of Prune, Gabrielle Hamilton's restaurant, firsthand. The juxtapositions of glamorous tv appearances and restaurant cleaning are deep here, like in former chapters where we see the life Gabrielle portrays to the public (her friends and family and those around her), and the inner feelings she works through. Click beyond the link to dive-in to this chapter, complete with spoilers.

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In this chapter, happenstance finds Gabrielle running into a neighbor who knows of a vacant restaurant space. She views it for fun and swirls into a spiral of what-if moments that involve past, present and future.

A filthy, little-used eatery space could only illicit an inspirational response from someone who, in their heart of hearts, really wants this. Click beyond the link to read more about this chapter.

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Do you have any questions for Gabrielle Hamilton? We'll be putting together a live Q&A! Leave your questions below or tweet them to us and we'll include you in our session.

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Halfway through the chapter, Gabrielle touches on a very familiar problem with women: impostor syndrome.

"It would be instantly discovered that I had been accepted by accident, that someone had messed up and put my application in the wrong pile," she laments. (If you're in a Kindle, this is location 1509).

Of course Gabrielle was not accepted by accident. Of course she was qualified, but this is a valid feeling that many women, who just can't believe their *luck* at achieving something amazing, often feel.

Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

Here's even more info on impostor syndrome: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

Another topic that comes up is the city of Detroit, another underdog in this book. Misty opens up new worlds for Gabrielle, even taking her on a road trip to Downtown Detroit, where HuffPost Travel editor Paul Brady spent some time looking into urban farming last summer.

There's a fantastic video on urban farming in that city over here.

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Thanks for joining us tonight for chapters 7, 8 and 9 of Blood, Bones and Butter.

Let's start off right away by diving into chapter 7. Gabrielle starts right off with a fantastic quote that, I feel, really carries us through her whole demeanor in the book:

Be careful what you get good at doin' 'cause you'll be doin' it for the rest of your life.'

Click below to continue and for some spoilers from this chapter!

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@ maddiecrum : Downton Abbey quote reminded me of BBB: "She's more of a general than a trooper, but that's what you need in a cook." #hpbookclub

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I love this recipe for spiced lamb shank by blogger Lily Bellow. It's inspired by the first few chapters of Blood, Bones and Butter and it won't be the last.

If you've got a recipe that reminds you of the book, email us and share!

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I found this great article written by a business reporter here in the office.

I was never part of the boys' club, but a woman in business has two choices -- take it personally and let it take you down, or take it in stride and keep moving, no matter what.

Quotes like this from the post are a great insight to Gabrielle's personality in the book: Is she tough because she needs to be for her business, or does her already gruff interior aid her in her current success?

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Editor Andrew wrote a really fantastic glossary of terms for the less cooking-inclined of those of us reading. It's super helpful.

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Here's a great tweet we just discovered! Now, we're starving.
@ BGSKCollege : Braising lamb shanks for a blood bones and butter themed recipe! http://t.co/mOGncTF8

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"I'd like to jump ahead." So begins Chapter Six of "Blood Bones and Butter."

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Chapters 5 concludes the "Blood" portion of the book, and Chapter 6 dives into "Bones." I assume blood is meant to discuss the influence Gabrielle's family has had on her life as a chef, and bones refers to the nitty gritty work that went into her eventual success. What do you think of the organization of the book? Is it an interesting way of dividing up her life, or a confusing gimmick?

-Madeleine Crum

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Chapter four involves Gabrielle roughing it in New York City, working as a waitress (a job earned by lying about her age, once again) while half-heartedly taking classes at NYU.

-Madeleine Crum

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Click below to read the spoiler-filled discussion.

-- Andrew Losowsky

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If you've already finished the book, you can go to this page to discuss the whole story, spoilers and all!

We also have, coming in the next few days, the first in a series of recipes inspired by the book, a glossary of food terms from the book explained, and thought-provoking pieces about Italy and female chefs coming up from experts on HuffPost staff. Stay tuned...

Meanwhile, Chapter Three.

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And so it proved.

Click below for a spoiler-filled discussion of Chapter Two.

-- Andrew Losowsky

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Opening lines:

"We threw a party. The same party, every year, when I was a kid."

Click below for a spoiler-filled discussion of Chapter One.

-- Andrew Losowsky

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