bloods, bones, & butter-gabrielle hamilton

“i’m getting cheese like omelettes is, and i’m the toast of the town like Thomas'”

i love love love the unexpected connections between lyrics and life. so it’s no secret that the otherside is my joint off the new roots album, but honestly, i had no idea who Thomas was. honestly, that whole verse is phenomenal, my favorite of 2011. i just happened to stumble across a passage about miz hamilton’s breakfast rush where she describes the number of eggs and Thomas’ that she goes through on any given day-and i had to check up on the english muffin and bagel company-this is enough of a link for me to be giddy to be privy to the confirmation of my conflated interests. to find reflection in the food text back at hip hop, or, my frustration with spoken word artists, check this technique:

“The reader reads aloud, with a sing-song up…then down…then down again cadence. My mood shifts from merely reluctant to derisive. It’s a tired reading style. I’m sick of it. It attaches more importance to the words than the words themselves-as they’ve been arranged-could possibly sustain, and it gives poets and poetry a bad name. Which is not what I came to graduate school for; I want to forever admire poets. I arrived believing there was meaning and purpose in this work, that this work gives more than it takes, that it helps out.” (104)

“step in my area, let me show you who the highness is.”

some good throne-watching advice, if i ever heard it.


4 thoughts on “bloods, bones, & butter-gabrielle hamilton

  1. parentals (it wasn’t accidental):

    “My mother knew how to get everything comestible from a shin or neck of some animal; how to use a knife, how to cure a cast-iron pan. She taught us to articulate the ‘s’ in salad nicoise and the soup vichyssoise, so that we wouldn’t sound like other Americans who didn’t know that the vowel ‘e’ after the consonant ‘s’ in French means that you say the ‘s’ out loud.” (8)

    “But it was from him-with his cool, long sideburns and aviator sunglasses, his packet of unfiltered Camels, and box of watercolor 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. From him we learned how to make and give luminous parties.” (10)

    “ that way that the French have of speaking on inhaling rather than on the exhale, ‘whey whey whey’-in apparent commiseration with everything Jean or my mother uttered.” (24)

    “It’s quite something to go bare-handed up through an animal’s ass and dislodge its warm guts. Startling, the first time, how fragilely they are attached.” (63)

    “There are two things you should never do with your father: learn how to drive and learn how to kill a chicken. I’m not sure you should sit across from each other and eat the roasted bird in resentful silence either, but we did that too, and the meat, as if scripted, was disagreeably tough.” (64)

    “She is wearing prescription glasses under her wraparound sunglasses. My mother. My outrageously chic French mother who warmed the end of a wax kohl pencil every morning to apply her eyeliner is standing outside my bedroom window, thirty years later, wearing two pairs of glasses on her face at the same time.” (186)

    old people are fucking brilliant. i learned this trick years ago.

  2. sometimes, relationships get ill:

    “But lesbians are incredible. We take a year to break up when a week would do, and then we like to remain roommates while still toughing it out at couples counseling. It’s so /sensible/. Improbably, my affair with the Italian, an intensely overachieving M.D./Ph.D., actually breathed new stamina and energy into my relationship with the bartender because I was now getting some relief, some kindness, and some sexual attention outside of the relationship, which took the heat off the expectation at home.” (162)

    “So we just hug and cook a lot. Which can seem, at times, like a greater intimacy than the one I have with her son, and a very compelling reason to stay married to him.” (173)

    “But I think he felt complimented that I would introduce him to my mother. I think he saw it as a /privilege/. I, of course, for twenty years, had been more or less successfully sparing those I loved from the experience.” (178-9)

    “I should have known from those ravioli. Those many years ago when he was so heavily courting me, and he painstakingly made those ravioli, and presented them on a paper tray-so tender and translucent and beautiful. When we cooked them for family meal at the restaurant the next day, we took special care to use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and we browned a little butter with a few leaves or rubbed sage and we all took our first bites and had to spit them out immediately they were so inedibly salty. Michele had failed to blanche the pancetta and additionally had overseasoned the ravioli filling and so those several dozen handmade gorgeous little beauties, which looked so enticing and appealing from the outside, went to waste as we opened them up and took out the filling and ate only the few bites we could salvage of the empty pasta alone with the butter and sage. /I should have paid attention to that./” (253)

  3. in the kitchen:

    “It was the first time I saw a chef ask relevant questions of job seekers at their interviews. /How long is your commute? Your fiance lives in Chicago? This is your third DUI? Between jail and TGI Friday’s you worked salads at Bombay Bicycle Lounge for how long?/ She knew well that the cooking end of things would be apparent in these applicants as soon as they entered the kitchen, and that it was a waste of interview time to ask them about their kitchen skills, which everybody lies about anyway. She was keen to discover if the rest of the package existed-the part where you need your crew to be somewhat sane, logical, and reliable. I learned from Misty that when a cook tells you that his girlfriend is moving to L.A. to break into movies, you had better start preparing for the departure of the boyfriend, as well.” (110)

    “I hate hating women but double-skim-half decaf vanilla latte embarrasses me.” (205)

    “What I have loved about cooking my entire life, especially prep cooking, is the way that it keeps your hands occupied but your mind free to sort everything out. I have never once finished an eight-hour prep shift without something from my life-mundane or profound-sorted out. A new way to organize the walk-in. An opening and closing line for an essay. A way to prepare the zucchini. A likely reason I came to long for my green card marriage to an Italian man eleven years my senior to become something other, deeper than a piece of performance art, and why it never quite became that thing.” (250)

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