02/12/2012 12:39 pm ET Updated Apr 13, 2012

'Blood, Bones & Butter' Book Club Discussion 2 of 2

Welcome to the second half of our discussions about the first half of "Blood, Bones and Butter." You can find the first half here, and you can click here to learn more about our choice.

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.

03/17/2012 3:10 PM EDT

@ HuffPostBooks :

DON'T FORGET! Tomorrow is our #HPBookClub event at Word in Brooklyn. Come: #freewine #freeauthor

03/17/2012 3:10 PM EDT

We'll be announcing the new book exclusively at Word this weekend during our HuffPost Book Club live event and following that, in an email to all Book Club members on Tuesday! Can't wait to tell you what it will be!

@ spnadler :

@HuffPostBooks what is the next #hpbookclub book of the month? Dying of anticipation here!

03/17/2012 3:08 PM EDT

Is It Time To Stop Asking, 'Where Are The Women?'

Margaret Wheeler Johnson pens a great criticism of the notions of female chefs as described in the later chapters of "Blood, Bones and Butter."

Do you agree with her thoughts? Are you ready to end the search for women in these fields?

If we're just talking numbers, it's not: a survey conducted by the American Culinary Foundation found that female executive chefs make $18,000 less annually than their male counterparts, and Maclean's reported in late 2011 that women hold only 10 percent of executive chef positions in the U.S.

Across professions, the numbers aren't much better. A study by Catalyst, a nonprofit that works to increase employment opportunities for women, found that in 2011 women held 16.1 percent of corporate board seats (women of color held only 3 percent), 14.1 percent of executive officer positions, and 7.5 percent of executive top-earner positions.

And yet these "Where are the women?" conversations often do seem tired, probably because we know where the women are, in almost any field. Lots of them choose to take time off to have kids and so lag behind men in terms of earnings and promotions. Lots of women are there the whole time, working at mid-level jobs while raising a family, but get passed over for higher positions. Many women are unwilling to work the long hours required to advance in some companies and so take less prestigious career tracks. (This happens in the culinary world, too, Hamilton notes: "Women have self-selected out of the chef life, which can grind you to a powder, and have become happily married recipe testers and magazine editors.")

03/17/2012 3:04 PM EDT

Chapter 20: Roman Holiday

Balance has been a tricky topic in the life (as we know it) of Gabrielle Hamilton. And it's no different as we sum up her book, "Blood, Bones and Butter." Starting off with a ride to the airport to begin their annual Italian getaway to Michele's family, Gabrielle begins to pick at the sides she balances on, already frustrated with a lack of connection and a surplus of small talk.

Click here for spoilers and more on the ending of the book...

03/17/2012 2:44 PM EDT

@ LoriFradkin :

'Why didn't we say, If you want your cooking career to recognized, be a cook! Cook, ladies, cook." -Gabrielle Hamilton

03/17/2012 2:40 PM EDT

Chapter 19: A Pork Store Grows in Brooklyn

Welcome to Chapter 19. We're nearing the end of Gabrielle Hamilton's book and, unfortunately, the end of her marriage to her Italian stallion, Michele. This chapter edges in on the problems between them, and some personal realizations in Gabrielle's life: as well as a reluctant chef, she is reluctantly important to other people.

Click below to read spoilers, discussion points and reading themes...

- Annemarie

03/17/2012 2:34 PM EDT

Food and Wine has a great story here:

Here's a short bit from their post, "A Mentor Named Misty: After nearly 20 years of working in restaurants, she'd sworn off professional kitchens. Then she met Misty Callies. Here, Gabrielle Hamilton explains how one woman made her the chef she is today."

Head over to their site to read the whole thing.

When I met Misty Callies, my reluctant mentor, who inadvertently shaped me into the chef I am now, I'd left New York City, paradoxically, to escape from cooking. After soldiering through nearly 20 years in second-rate kitchens, starting as a 12-year-old dishwasher at a tourist restaurant in my Pennsylvania hometown, I had somehow gotten a spot in the master's program in fiction writing at the University of Michigan. So, in 1995, I packed a U-Haul and rolled into Ann Arbor to start a new, clean-fingernailed life.

I unpacked the U-Haul, registered for classes and immediately took a part-time job cooking to help pay the rent. When Misty hired me, she was grilling boneless chicken breasts for a U of M tailgate party, wearing a stained V-neck T-shirt. Not more than 10 years my senior, she was the tired, taciturn, slightly beaten chef of a perfectly decent catering company in a university football town where grown men wear maize-and-blue parkas and golf socks and will not venture beyond salmon and filet mignon, cooked to death and preferably covered with melted cheese.

03/17/2012 2:31 PM EDT


Author of Blood, Bones and Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton shares her passion for Italian food in today’s feature

03/17/2012 2:26 PM EDT

Chapter 18: Salty Ravioli and Rome

As we near the end of the book, we begin to dive into Gabrielle's relationship with her former husband, Michele. Often described as a passionately and unapologetic Italian man, I could appreciate this, coming from a family straight out of Naples. Gabrielle didn't seem to find a lot of his unapologetic Italian behaviour as humorous as I did (from my seat as a reader) and I think it was a fine analogy for what she probably goes through herself, and what a lot of us go through: the idyllic stereotypes of the alluring Italian, the pragmatic chef, the ideals we could not ever possibly live up to.

Click below to dive into chapter 18...

03/17/2012 1:39 PM EDT

An Afternoon at Prune

After finishing the book, the HuffPost Books editors decided to go for a quick lunch at Gabrielle Hamilton's restaurant Prune -- we couldn't resist! Here's the Classic New York Deli Sandwich, the Ratatouille Sandwich and a celery primer.