Gabrielle Hamilton's sumptuous chef memoir, Blood, Bones, & Butter (Random House, Mar.) satisfies like an earthy, exhilarating ragout. Learning the art of brasserie cooking from her mother, she spends a decade working in warehouse catering kitchens, while journaling astutely. She continues wielding a spatula while earning undergrad and M.F.A. degrees. Hamilton turned a tiny space in an East Village tenement into the now celebrated restaurant, Prune, her mother's nickname for her. She jettisons her girlfriend for an Italian doctor; next comes marriage and two sons. At the story's distressing conclusion, she remains in the loveless marriage—for the culinary wisdom she gains from her mother-in-law. Hamilton unclogs grease traps and displays humility and sweat—working the brunch shift over hot burners—in a book that is a resonant working-class addition to the genre of hash-slinger confessional.