Cooking with Fernet Branca has ratings and reviews. Richard said: Rating: * of fiveThe Publisher Says: Gerald Samper, an effete English s. Cooking with Fernet Branca, by James Hamilton-Paterson. A comedy of menus high up in Tuscany. Christopher Hirst; Monday 26 July Cooking with Fernet Branca. by James Hamilton-Paterson (Europa; $). In this comic novel, two expats try to live on the same Tuscan.

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To me this book was a victim of the author’s need to be too witty.

Cooking With Fernet Branca

I have been told by friendly cognoscenti that I have a pleasant light tenor, and I am just giving a Rossini aria a good run for its money when suddenly a voice shouts up from near my ankles: Others looked like testicles set in dough.

But Samper deprecates with good reason the specialties his neighbor offers him, delicacies delivered direct from the former Soviet republic of Voynovia.

This is one of the best jokes in a book stuffed with them, but it also stands as an authorial statement of intent, for the Mayles of the literary world are clearly in James Hamilton-Paterson’s formidable sights throughout. I did not like this book. Well, before moving any farther along in this review process, let me send out the call: Novels, children’s books, poetry, documentary books as well as political books ‘America’s Boy’ about the Marcos family in the Philippines.

But Marta’s brother keeps stopping by in a helicopter in the middle of the night, and Gerard sings horrifically off-key opera while he avoids work by loudly building fences and other such, and each drives the other totally crazy with their drunkenness and terrifying cooking. Don’t read this book while eating In fact, the resident of the villa he can see from his own is none other than a well-to-do refugee from a Soviet republic, with all her entangling connections.

Interspersed with recipes that get progressively more and more insane, and I think they all include a bit of mankind’s most vile aperitif — fernet branca. The agent has told each that the other would only be there a month and wanted nothing but seclusion. There is much much more to this book than I have let on here, but I hope I have at least In no particular order, you will encounter a famous film director, a boyband front man, a mysterious night-flyer and a few more who are needed to make the storyline possible.


It helps, but is not necessary, for the reader to be somewhat knowledgeable about Pier Paolo Pasolini, East European mafia, gourmet cooking. According to the estate agent, the nearest house to his is only occupied one month a year by vacationers.

Well said, although I hasten to emphasise you wouldn’t read this book for its insights into politics or anything much else and especially not cooking. I peered through my fingers, unable to stop reading but couldn’t wait for it to end.

Strange brew

Three Magi fenret the same trip found themselves laden with gold, frankincense and cioking and bitterly comtemplating their overdrafts. This is the first in a trilogy, and introduces us to two main characters: Refresh and try again. At the very least, you will certainly hesitate before sipping an unfamiliar liqueur or tasting an exotic dish, especially after reading the recipe for Alien Piewhich calls for grams of baby beet; a single drop of household paraffin; 1 kg smoked cat, off the bone, and… I expect you get the picture!

Sample chapter Sample chapter Sample chapter.

This is a historically established syndrome, of course. You’ll laugh at him and you’ll laugh with him. I cannot cpoking all the ingredients without spoiling the end of the book – not to mention your appetite – but smoked cat and paraffin are among them.

You’ll meet funny creatures, even some mob and boy bend celebrity with traumatic surreal experience. Laura Barnett Greatest Hitspp. The clash of cultures and languages leads to anything but the peace and quiet they were both seeking. He fancies himself as a genius cook and DIY expert, as well as an author. It is difficult to write a humorous novel, but this author seems to have mastered it completely. Sometimes silly, sometimes good-humored, but never boring, this meant-for-entertainment-only-novel gets a solid 4 stars.

What is crucial to a piece like this is tone of voice, and with both Gerald and Marta we know that we’re in safe hands from the beginning. And there the misunderstandings and misadventures begin.

For their first dinner together, she serves him shonkawhich Gerry describes as a gross sausage the colour of rubberwear and as full of lumps as a prison mattress. Fernet Branca is however more of an acquired taste then its two siblings. Beth has done something awful.


James Hamilton-Paterson is a reasonably prolific author and has written books in almost any genre you care to mention. Lots of somewhat contradictory adjectives come to mind. Both have come in search of total peace and quiet, Gerald to write and mope, and Marta – a classically trained musician from a generic former SovBloc republic with a family to kill yourself for – to compose the soundtrack for a film. Add to this a handful of very interesting recipes, recipes in which Fernet Branca will play a not unimportant part, Voynian delicacies and some good advice on DIY.

I’d give it 3. I didn’t relate or like the characters and it was a chore for me to pick up.

Cooking with Fernet Branca

Gerald’s idyll is shattered by the arrival of Marta, on the run from a crime-ri Gerald Samper, an effete English snob, has his own private hilltop in Tuscany, where he whiles away his time working as a ghostwriter for celebrities and inventing wholly original culinary concoctions — including ice cream made with garlic and the bitter, herb-based liqueur of the book’s title. And I dare you not to laugh at these idiots! He is literally missing the key to Murrikin stardom by not reading, optioning, and making this book into a movie.

Until a woman from East comes and ruins his daily routine. Gerard and Marta are incredibly well-drawn characters, from her pidgin English and lovingly frazzled appearance to his fastidious mannerisms and constant stream of sarcastic inner monologue.

Dec 23, Kasa Cotugno rated it really liked it Shelves: Anyone able to gain legal entry to Australia can become an Australian, but however long you cookinng in Italy and however proficient you may be in the language, you can no more become Italian than you can Welsh.

But I’m not, so I haven’t. She is Marta and comes from an ex Soviet Republic.

Also an expat, she is fleeing her crimelord, overprotective family in Eastern Europe.