Notes & Quotes: Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

The following are my favorite quotes from Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.
  1. It was from him (dad) -- with his cool, long sideburns and aviator sunglasses, his packet of unfiltered Camels, and box of water paints (and artist's paycheck) -- from him we learned how to create beauty where none exists, how to be generous beyond our means, how to change a small corner of the world just by making a little dinner for a few friends.
  2. My father has said a hundred times, and I have paid attention, that it's stupid to let money be the reason you don't do something.
  3. That is my favorite kind of integrated person. Some of each thing and not too much of any one.
  4. Iannis, without wasting a moment on that awkward and tedious conversation that will unhappily precede so many hundreds and hundreds of future restaurant meals in all of our lives -- whether to share or not to share and whether or not there are food phobias and dietary restrictions among us -- simply ordered food for the table without even consulting a menu, and so set the standard for me for all time of excellent hospitality: Just take care of everything.
  5. "There are no accidents," [mom would] say, sternly looking down at the eight-year-old offender (me) with the two broken pieces of some dish in her soapy hands. "Only carelessness."
  6. I loathe the way he offers this line of reasoning -- triple the pay and hardly any work! -- to me, to me who has thrived her whole life on triple the work for hardly any pay, obliviously expecting it to be the salient point that cements my opinion of him as a decent guy who -- as if fatally -- has an opportunity that cannot be resisted.
  7. The staff does not want to see you fall apart. It unnerves them. You can let it go in the privacy of your office, you can weep in the walk-in, but at the bench, you must pick up your knife and finish boning out those chickens.
  8. Somewhere between kid number one and kid number two and chef and owner and nursing and prepping and line cooking and worker's comp and commercial refrigeration, I learned to re-envision the amount of time I have available to sleep as an excellent nap instead of a paltry night's worth.
  9. Put your head down and do your job and let the recognition end of things sort itself out.
  10. Usually on the third shelf toward the bottom there are a couple of platters of room temperature food, cooked, if lucky, that morning, but not uncommonly the day before, and even -- I've seen it -- the day before that. The fried peppers and eggplant and potatoes that rest there have never seen refrigeration, which is on one hand kind of unsettling but also helps me see how hyper we Americans are about refrigeration. In Alda's house [in Italy], the refrigerators themselves hardly make fifty degrees and prepared foods rests for days in the cabinet and also in the turned-off oven. Everyone in the family eats this stuff and hasn't died from it yet.