( EPUB ) ♵ Cooking with Fernet Branca ☢ MOBI eBook or Kindle ePUB free

I am laughing again as I turn to this, on page four The day has dawned bright in every sense and I am making good progress up a ladder painting the kitchen the most important room in the house in contrasting shades of mushroom and eau de Nil Anyone can do the white walls and black beams bit, but it takes aesthetic confidence and an original mind to make something of a Tuscan mountain farmhouse that isn t merely Frances Mayes It also takes a complete absence of salt of the earth peasants a I am laughing again as I turn to this, on page four The day has dawned bright in every sense and I am making good progress up a ladder painting the kitchen the most important room in the house in contrasting shades of mushroom and eau de Nil Anyone can do the white walls and black beams bit, but it takes aesthetic confidence and an original mind to make something of a Tuscan mountain farmhouse that isn t merely Frances Mayes It also takes a complete absence of salt of the earth peasants and their immemorial aesthetic input It is all rather heartening and as I work I break cheerfully into song 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 Excuse, please I am Marta Is open your door, see, and I am come I break off at tutte le norme vigenti and look down to find a shock of frizzy hair with an upturned sebaceous face at its centre In this first part, the most hilarious two dozen pages in the book, we view the world as seen by Englishman Gerald Samper who refers to himself as a Shropshire Samper hunkered down in a cottage about as far off the beaten path as it is possible to get in the Apuan Alps of Northern Italy, practicing his trade as a ghost writer, working on the autobiography of the lead singer of a boy band but also taking the opportunity to devotetime to his passion for cooking The next section is told from Marta s point of view Despite her Borat like butchering of the English language, Marta, from the fictional ex Soviet country of Voynovia Voy NO via is every bit Gerry s intellectual equal She is a composer, and has come to Italy to work on a score for a famous cult film director named Piero Pacini, although she has not seen any of Pacini s films It is through Marta s eyes that we see Gerree s flaws Marta ends up copying Gerry s abysmal kitchen singing for the film, which for some reason is a perfect fit it s possible this is a pornographic movie, though we aren t really sure Gerry finds Marta slovenly and her music absolutely horrible not recognizing its source The agent has told each that the other would only be there a month and wanted nothing but seclusion And there the misunderstandings and misadventures begin.Fernet Branca is an herb based liqueur perhaps better described as a bitter Italian spirit since not only is it liberally used in cooking, but both characters drink copious amounts of the stuff, each of course blaming the other for the excessive consumption I assume also that the author intended at least some of his readers with too much time on their hands to stumble upon the fact that Fernet Branca is the preferred drink of the title character of Notti di Cabira, by Fellini linking us to Marta s Pacini, perhaps In any case, fooding as Marta is wont to call cuisine, is just one common fondness these two share For their first dinner together, she serves him shonka, which Gerry describes as a gross sausage the colour of rubberwear and as full of lumps as a prison mattress When he pokes it with the point of his knife, he hears the sound of a boil being lanced, yet in no time at all he s eaten a good two inches of the thing, with a mere yard to go Gerry provides the dessert Garlic and Fernet Branca Ice Cream created to discourage Marta from becoming habitual in her visitations to his habitat Of course she polishes it off with gusto, washed down with copious draughts of Fernet Branca The story inevitably spins off into many directions perhaps too many and I have to confess that I was insufficiently exposed wink wink, nudge nudge to Monty Python in my youth, so it s possible I just didn t get it , or else it was simply impossible for the author to keep his readers spirits up after such a hilarious beginning Technically, I must say I very much admired the author s use of the unreliable narrator here one of the best examples I ve read in quite some time especially using two alternating narrators, recalling One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding, but fully milked in Fernet Branca for humour I also found seasoning enough sprinkled throughout the story to read through to its conclusion, even though I d guessed it beforehand as you will, too But don t let that stop you Cooking with Fernet Branca is a light, airy narrative that spins around two unique characters, is filled with many strange dishes and goings on, and of course, after so much mention of Fernet Branca, you might feel as though you ve actually tasted it 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 Pie, which calls for 500 grams of baby beet a single drop of household paraffin 1 kg smoked cat, off the bone, and I expect you get the picture Buon appetito Are you hungry for cat pot pie, parrots n carrots, horse custard, or deep fried mice image The snobbish British writer and weird cook, Gerald Samper has moved into a villa in the Italian mountains Here he finds he has a neighbor Marta, whose Russian based family are crime lords.image This odd couple produce an amazing series misunderstandings and dangerous situations One of Gerald s recipes Sometimes I lie in bed and cheer myself up by gloating over the culinary challenges faced and ove Are you hungry for cat pot pie, parrots n carrots, horse custard, or deep fried mice image The snobbish British writer and weird cook, Gerald Samper has moved into a villa in the Italian mountains Here he finds he has a neighbor Marta, whose Russian based family are crime lords.image This odd couple produce an amazing series misunderstandings and dangerous situations One of Gerald s recipes Sometimes I lie in bed and cheer myself up by gloating over the culinary challenges faced and overcome in the heroic cuisine of yesteryear Maj Gen Sir Aubrey Lutterworth Elements of Raj Cookery 1887 would surely be on every insomniac s bedside table were it not so rare He is full of cunning ways with fruit bats, python etc and his recipes breathe a manly simplicity With a sharp dhauji remove the paws of a medium sized panda Discard the animal Soak the claws overnight in a crock of fresh tikkhu juice In the monsoon months it will be found expedient to mount a guard since the smell of tikkhu fermenting is irresistible to both upland tiger and bamboo wolf Written, of course, at a time when the earth was ours and the bounty thereof Nowadays we have pizza and just look at the state of things image I have not described the weirder recipes to protect readers with delicate stomachs Enjoy Cooking, crime celebritizing collide often hilariously in this satiric tease on rustic retreats Hamilton Patersonwrites with an assured and idiosyncratic comic spirit.Two crackpot neighbors are thrown together in Tuscany a hotspot of distilled lunacy Their mischievousnessbecomes a perfect uncorked stimulant.Meet a Brit ghostwriter for celebs who settles in Tusc to write and cook in peace Then a hearty woman composer fr Eastern Europe plumps down nearby to ponder a score for a fawncy I Cooking, crime celebritizing collide often hilariously in this satiric tease on rustic retreats Hamilton Patersonwrites with an assured and idiosyncratic comic spirit.Two crackpot neighbors are thrown together in Tuscany a hotspot of distilled lunacy Their mischievousnessbecomes a perfect uncorked stimulant.Meet a Brit ghostwriter for celebs who settles in Tusc to write and cook in peace Then a hearty woman composer fr Eastern Europe plumps down nearby to ponder a score for a fawncy Italian film director She happens to have a gangster brother Can they all get along Is there a screwball life after deathwant some eels cooked in chocolate Buon divertimento I admit it, I was click baited into this by the headline title and had no idea where the book would take me.However, as I hold Fernet Branca in high esteem, the temptation was irresistible, and as the saying goes, never lay down a temptation, it may not come again Once in my eternal youth I travelled through Uganda, with a bottle of Fernet Branca held closely to my heart At time of travel a cholera outbreak was closing shops and markets at the leisurely speed of one mile hour behind me, givi I admit it, I was click baited into this by the headline title and had no idea where the book would take me.However, as I hold Fernet Branca in high esteem, the temptation was irresistible, and as the saying goes, never lay down a temptation, it may not come again Once in my eternal youth I travelled through Uganda, with a bottle of Fernet Branca held closely to my heart At time of travel a cholera outbreak was closing shops and markets at the leisurely speed of one mile hour behind me, giving me a day s head start Thus, luckily escaping it, I am a true believer in the virtues of Fernet Branca, preventive as well as healing, not to mention it s social aspects That was my personal prologue Under the Tuscan Sun , right outside Viareggio, on the brink of a ravine, there are two old houses with a, sometimes, fabulous view to the Mediterranean By the sleaziness of the local real estate agent, they were both sold off as secluded and tranquil, and the neighbor rarely visits Just the kind of house Gerry the somewhat successful ghostwriter and Marta the composer from Voynovia would settle down for It soon turns out that tranquility will be hard to find, and the neighbor is very much at home.Even strained from the very beginning, both parties are eager to maintain a good neighbor relationship, if only the other part would leave me in peace The game is afoot, and we get to learn Gerry and Marta from each other s perspective, both guessing and imagining what the neighbor is like, and both being wrong most of the time.I m not going to spoil your fun, for fun it is when two people of very different backgrounds are trying to figure what the other part is up to The very British stiff upper lip collides with an ex Soviet exiled fear the worst from the West , and even the pictures are caricatured, they do not seem that far from reality In no particular order, you will encounter a famous film director, a boyband front man, a mysterious night flyer and a fewwho are needed to make the storyline possible 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 And not least a generous share of Fernet Branca Sometimes silly, sometimes good hud, but never boring, this meant for entertainment only novel gets a solid 4 stars ( EPUB ) ☸ Cooking with Fernet Branca ☲ 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 Gerald s idyll is shattered by the arrival of Marta, on the run from a crime riddled former soviet republic A series of hilarious misunderstandings brings this odd couple into ever closer and disastrous proximityJames Hamilton Paterson s first novel, Gerontius, won the Whitbread Award He is an acclaimed author of nonfiction books, including Seven Tenths, Three Miles Down, and Playing with Water, He currently lives in Italy I didn t manage to read this in Mexico, though I was told it would be the perfect smart person airplane book, but I did pick it up as soon as I got back, and it was very much as promised dryly hilarious, fast moving, clever, and a whole lot of fun Cooking With Fernet Branca is dual ly narrated by two next door neighbors living on the Italian countryside Gerard Samper, a very proper Englishman and self proclaimed master chefon that soon , who makes his money ghostwriting autobiographi I didn t manage to read this in Mexico, though I was told it would be the perfect smart person airplane book, but I did pick it up as soon as I got back, and it was very much as promised dryly hilarious, fast moving, clever, and a whole lot of fun Cooking With Fernet Branca is dual ly narrated by two next door neighbors living on the Italian countryside Gerard Samper, a very proper Englishman and self proclaimed master chefon that soon , who makes his money ghostwriting autobiographies for idiotic sports stars and Marta, a somewhat bumpkin ish composer from Eastern Europe Voynovia, actually who has been commissioned to write a film score for a famous arty and controversial Italian film director So 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 They are both a bit unreliable as narrators, which is done with great subtlety at times, and then become very overt when the narrative switches sides and we get to see the same scene retold through the other s eyes Their relationship is so complex, so changing, so real, that it carries the entire book brilliantly See, they hate each other I mean, each was told when they bought their houses that their immediate neighbor was quiet and calm, and would only be home maybe one month out of the year 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 And oh, the cooking This is where the book s darkest humor shimmers horrifyingly Gerard, who punctuates his sections with explicitly detailed recipes, loves to cook And the things he cooks arewellnot for the faint of heart Examples include stuffed udder in butterscotch sauce, smoked cat pot pie, parrots n carrots, horse custard, andandIn fact, one of the subtle ways in which he wages war with Marta is with cuisine m priseur, the cuisine of contempt She though unwittingly does about the same thing, by always trying to feed him homemade Voynovian treats, which are every bit as horrifying to his palate as his deep fried mice would be to hers In any case, of course, they bicker and fight and scheme and plot, and eventually work their way into one another s good graces,or less There is much muchto this book than I have let on here, but I hope I have at leastwhet some appetites, as it were, because I really think James Hamilton Paterson ought to be better known I plan to get both the other books he s written about Gerard and Marta tout suite, before the fall ends and I am expected to read , er, serious literature A zany farce populated by oddball characters, most of whom becomeendearing as things unravel Very well crafted and just packed with rich, carefully considered language I thoroughly enjoyed the circus and laughed out loud in several spots. This is an odd one to judge generally a pretty run of the mill exercise, but with moments of real comic genius, in my view.I should say that I don t normally read comic novels or intentionally comic novels , and reading this one rather reminded me why There can be something hectoring about someone trying constantly to amuse you I also have a very low tolerance of fart jokes.I was driven to comedy in this instance partly for circumstantial reasons as an antidote to miserable February weather This is an odd one to judge generally a pretty run of the mill exercise, but with moments of real comic genius, in my view.I should say that I don t normally read comic novels or intentionally comic novels , and reading this one rather reminded me why There can be something hectoring about someone trying constantly to amuse you I also have a very low tolerance of fart jokes.I was driven to comedy in this instance partly for circumstantial reasons as an antidote to miserable February weather and a miserable February workplace , but partly also because Cooking with Fernet Branca has got some very good reviews I liked the prospect of a novel narrated by his and hers unreliable narrators, and the Italian setting was another lure for me off piste Italy, as well, high in the Apuan Alps behind Camaiore, north of Lucca In the event, I found CWFB eminently forgettable it s already fading fast, although I only finished it a couple of days ago to the extent that it seems rather strange to me that it managed to scrape its way on to the Booker longlist in 2004 Presumably it got there by virtue of its themes of art and commerce and compromise, levered rather clunkily into the novel through the professions of the odd couple narrators, Marta and Gerald, who are, respectively, a composer of art film music and a ghost writer for celebrities or amanuensis to knuckleheads, in Gerald s characteristically scathing phrase What I liked best inCWFB were Gerald s recipes, which are a splendid antic sub genre in themselves I also liked Gerald s invented Donizettian opera arias, mainly based on libretti found on the labels of DIY products Non disperdere nell ambiente Nuoce gravemente alla salute Gerald s culinary idiom is the crazed love child of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall s and Heston Blumenthal s It combines the finicky one recipe calls for a single stamen of saffron with the queasily red in tooth and claw Jack Russells are a bugger to bone Alien Pie, with its smoked cat base and jaunty buzzard feather garnish, is surely Gerald s masterpiece, but I also enjoyed such simple treats as Log Jam, made from steeped oak twigs a technique probably lost since the Late Bronze Age not to mention the promising notion of constructing recipes on the basis of consonance Moth Broth Poodles and Noodles Horse Sauce As someone with the good fortune to be amorously paired with an ambitious cook though happily not quite as ambitious as Gerald , I have picked up enough familiarity with the world of haute culinary fantasy that Hamilton Paterson is parodying to have a sense of how well done this is Pretentious cooking is an easy enough satirical target everyone does it but it s not easy to do it this well A witty hilarious satire of all the A Year in Provence, Under the Tuscan Sun books that romanticize the expat life in Europe Once again, an overly refined Brit goes to Italy to follow his writing muse Please note he is a ghostwriter of biographies for celebrities, not a Nobel nominee That fact does not limit his pretensions whatsoever Settling into his quaint abode, he is horrified when his new neighbor moves in Also an expat, she is fleeing her crimelord, overprotective family in A witty hilarious satire of all the A Year in Provence, Under the Tuscan Sun books that romanticize the expat life in Europe Once again, an overly refined Brit goes to Italy to follow his writing muse Please note he is a ghostwriter of biographies for celebrities, not a Nobel nominee That fact does not limit his pretensions whatsoever Settling into his quaint abode, he is horrified when his new neighbor moves in Also an expat, she is fleeing her crimelord, overprotective family in Eastern Europe Now the hijinks begin a series of wrong conclusions misunderstandings makes for very funny encounters The plot brings in some other wryly drawn characters Hamilton Paterson has a gift for language Footnote Fernet Branca is the most vile liqueur I have ever tasted Our Writer Hero uses it as the centerpiece for several bizarre recipes of which he is unduly proud Funny and eloquent and completely pointless.