My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I like food. I like to eat good food (perhaps a bit too much!). So, I generally enjoy reading the stories of the people who have worked their way through the difficult journey to professional chef. And if that chef happens to be woman, all the better, because the food industry in the past has not been kind to women. So, I thought I would probably enjoy this particular memoir.
I did enjoy parts of it. There were parts that were engaging and gave a real glimpse into the worlds Hamilton inhabited on her way from the daughter of a mother who cooked quite well, to her bohemian travels in Greece, Turkey, and France where she depended on strangers for both education and sustenance, to her own restaurant that she was rather unprepared for opening and had its special challenges. When she talks about food- whether in her mother’s kitchen or cooking for her extended Italian in-law family, she can shine. Her style is rather dry and sometimes a bit prickly, but you sense her love of the art and essence of food and its preparation. When she talks about her personal life, however, she comes across too often as distant and somewhat uncaring. It made for an uneven read, and there were times when I was not sure I was going to finish. I am glad I did, however, because despite some unevenness in the writing, Hamilton’s is an interesting, if unconventional, story.
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