For the October / November 2022 edition I chose the novel Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson (September 2005)
Right around the time when we started talking about our next selections at the beginning of this year, I read an article on The Guardian titled Top 10 cooks in fiction written by Annabel Abbs. Number 10 is Gerald Sampler, protagonist of the novel I chose:
Gerald is a ghostwriter for C-list celebrities who likes inventing recipes. From his Tuscan hilltop he cooks with great gusto, using copious amounts of an Italian digestif called Fernet Branca. The plot is fast-paced but daft, the characters ludicrous but hilarious, and the recipes imaginative but ridiculous. Mussels in chocolate, garlic ice cream, a pie made from cat and kerosene, all doused in Fernet Branca, and described by one reviewer “lingering in the mind like poems”. This farce of a novel is a perfect reminder that no cook should take themselves too seriously.
The New Yorker's review clarifies that two expats are the novel's main characters:
In this comic novel, two expats try to live on the same Tuscan mountaintop for the summer without killing each other: Gerald, an effete English snob and amateur cook who makes his living as a ghostwriter; and Marta, a bohemian composer from a crime family in a former Soviet republic. Hamilton-Paterson quickly seduces the reader with the perfectly captured acerbic tone and timing of Gerald and Marta’s badinage.
I'm looking forward to reading how Gerald uses Fernet Branca in the kitchen, since when I was growing up in Italy it was strictly drunk as a digestivo (digestif).
Deadline for contributing your post: Wednesday, November 30, 2022.
Leave a comment below with a link to your post or email me at simosite AT mac DOT com
Remember that membership in our book club is open to anyone and we hope you will join us by reading these selections and creating inspired recipes. New participants are always welcome and so are returning ones. For more information about participating, click here.
My post is up: https://culinary-adventures-with-cam.blogspot.com/2022/10/fernet-branca-chocolate-chunk-cookies.html
Thanks for hosting, Simona.
Should be an entertaining read, thanks Simona. Looking forward to it.
I'm looking forward to it (and trying some Fernet-Branca).
I just started reading this the other day. The neighbor is a crazy character!
Wow, Camilla, that was fast! Thank you for your contribution :)
I hope so, Claudia. I am too :)
Thank you, Debra. Looking forward to reading what you think of it :)
Yes, Tina, the cast of characters is supposed to be entertaining :)
What a fun little romp! My post is now up: http://honeyfromrock.blogspot.com/2022/10/cooking-under-advisement-with-fernet.html
Thank you so much, Claudia :)
Thanks for hosting! Here's my post: https://www.amyscookingadventures.com/2022/11/whisper-in-dark-cocktail.html
Thank you so much, Amy :)
Here's my post for this selection
Thank you so much, Marg :)
And here is my contribution: https://www.pulcetta.com/2022/11/recipe-radicchio-leaf-lettuce-salad-carrot-microgreens-persimmon.html
Am I the last one to post? http://eliotseats.com/2022/11/30/not-cooking-with-fernet-branca/
Thank you, Debra :)
That would be me. Sorry, Simona. I ran out of time and won't have it up until tomorrow afternoon.
Life! ;-( But I am OK if I don't make the round up.
Life happens, Deb, and we should not add to it unnecessary worry. Looking forward to reading your post :)
Hi Simona, Thank you--my post is finally up!
Thank you, Deb :)
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