A Good Read: “The Lamb Roast”Posted: January 14, 2011
Gabrielle Hamilton’s “The Lamb Roast” in this week’s New Yorker is the kind of story that the food and culture obsessed like myself love, where food and biography intertwine to form the perfect Proustian Madeleine. Hamilton is the chef behind the beloved East Village restaurant Prune. I’m only familiar with Prune from Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations “New York City” episode, in which Bourdain chums it up with Hamilton and fellow chef Eric Ripert. Frank Bruni wrote favorably of the restaurant in 2005 for the New York Times.
In the New Yorker piece, Hamilton weaves between rich descriptions of food and the all-to-familiar details of destructive familial relationships (or the lack thereof). The consequences of her intensely French mother, her eccentric artist father, and her own struggles with an unexpected divorce all revolve around the welcome chaos of an over-the-top yearly lamb roast. Her voice is reminiscent of the wonderful M. F. K. Fisher in The Gastronomical Me. The well-written chef is not anything new around these parts (just pick up any Bourdain book), but Hamilton’s voice is refreshingly delicate and dark. “The Lamb Roast” feels like the perfect preface to her anticipated memoir due in March, Blood, Bones, and Butter, which has already garnered some influential advance reviews.
If you’re anywhere near this week’s New Yorker, I suggest picking it up for a quick read.