Gabrielle Hamilton Visits Yale
Gabrielle Hamilton, author of the New York Times best-seller “Blood, Bones & Butter” visited Yale today. She visited the food writing class that I am in and also lead an open dialogue about her career and her memoir. Although I did not attend the public discussion, I had the chance to ask her questions and talk with her in a more intimate classroom setting.
Hamilton came off as a strong personality, someone who is not afraid to voice her opinion and comfortable in her mannerisms. She laughed, she cursed, and she genuinely engaged in conversation. Despite her strong personality, Hamilton seems amicable, and I would not mind hanging out with and certainly not mind learning how to cook from her.
During the seventy-five minutes our class had with her, she answered questions directly and honestly. For example, when asked about food blogs, she told us that while she sometimes spends time reading them, she feels bad afterwards because that was time spent she could have used to do something more productive.
Here are the cliff notes of what I learned:
- Hamilton keeps items on the Prune menu even if it’s not their most successful item.
- School was like a vacation to Hamilton. Break from manual labor.
- Hamilton was completely compliant with requests from friends and family who received pre-publish text of the book.
- Seeing as Hamilton portrays her own flaws, she allows other people in her memoir to be flawed.
- Hamilton doesn’t think time spent reading food blogs or watching food shows is time well spent.
- Hamilton enjoys breakfast at Balthazar at 8 a.m.—before all the tourists get in—Peter Luger for steak, Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station, and Angel’s Share for a drink.
I talked to Hamilton one-on-one after the class discussion to get my book signed, and after I mentioned that I ran a food blog, a look of surprise ran across her face. “Were you offended by what I said about food blogs earlier,” she asked. “Not really,” I said sheepishly. “I understand what you mean. I used to read a lot of food blogs all the time, but it takes up a lot of time, and I definitely can’t do that during the school year.”
Hamilton asked me about Toastable, so I told her the link. I’m doubtful she’ll have the time to visit—or the desire—but it’s cool having been able to talk to such an accomplished person.