by Malcolm Jolley

I saw Gabrielle Hamilton suck a bone. Seriously: from a lamb for its marrow in a nimble, nonchalant way that was simultaneously elegant and all business. I don’t know if anyone else at the sold-out Grano dinner noticed, or if our host, Roberto Martella had chosen this ovine braise just to engineer this moment (entirely possible, even likely), but it registered as a kind of spontaneous physical expression of her bestselling memoir Blood, Bones & Butter.

Hamilton was in Toronto for a public interview with The Cookbook Store’s Alison Fryer, and this dinner was a kind of welcome and warm-up. As it happens, I barely managed to get a word in with the with the author and chef, despite sitting directly across from her, since the restaurant was at peak decibel and, as the wine flowed, a steady stream of admirers came up to Hamilton to talk about her memoir or fantastic meals they’d had at her Lower East Side restaurant, Prune. But it was fun to observe her and when she stood up and answered questions from the audience, there were some wonderful exchanges like:

Dinner guest: What do you think about Twitter?

Gabrielle Hamilton: I don’t have that many small things to say that often.

Hamilton’s impatience for the 140 character tweet was as unsurprising as her determination to get at the marrow from her osso bucco agnello that evening. She is (now famously) a woman who loves both food and words. Blood, Bones & Butter is a memoir that traces her relationship with both. The book is written in three parts, which correspond to its three word title: her coming of age, dues paid in the kitchen and writing table, and the establishment of her restaurant and family.

The interview in the video below documents what happened the next time I got to sit across the table from Gabrielle Hamilton. There were no bones, just two glasses of water the next morning in a boardroom of the downtown offices of Random House Canada…
[vimeo w=560&h=315]
Can’t see the video? Click here.

GFR videos are generously sponsored by a grant from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company. Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the non-profit organization that publishes GFR. Photo: John Gundy.