Blood, Bones and Butter at Book Club

Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. Random House. 291 pages.

The latest edition of the Wednesday night book club was given a spirited boost by Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones and Butter. Subtitled The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Hamilton's intoxicating memoir is laced with generous portions of sex, drugs and family dysfunction. The driving force behind the restaurant that bears her childhood nickname - Manhattan's critically-acclaimed Prune - Hamilton writes about the complicated life of a working chef with a kind of fierce elegance. By turns, tender, curious and self-indulgent, her saving grace is always an abiding love for the joys of the table.

Hamilton's evocative writing style led to a wide-ranging and varied discussion. Along the way, Glenys and Mark contributed their personal memories of Hamilton's appearance at the shop while Barbara-jo offered her considered opinion on the culinary species known as "the rogue chef." Glenys's menu was the perfect complement to a conversation that lingered well into dessert. We started with Roasted Squash Bruschetta with Garlic, Shallots and Creme Fraiche. This was followed by Ricotta Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter. The main course? Roasted Cuban Bass with Parsley Gremolata, Wilted Dandelion and Kale. Dessert - Prune Cake with Creme Fraiche - was a fitting tribute to Hamilton's beloved restaurant. As always, this session was a welcome reminder of how books, food and conversation can come together to make for the perfect evening.