Belfast Telegraph

Eilis O'Hanlon: Some may take Gerry Adams cookbook with a pinch of salt... but for others this book could be hard to stomach

By Eilis O'Hanlon

Gerry Adams has always been fond of having his cake and eating it. He poses as a peacemaker, while still justifying terrorism. He demands that opponents respect his republican comrades, whilst calling unionists "b******s".

So it's no wonder that he eventually got round to writing an actual book of recipes, sharing with readers how they too can have and eat as much cake as the big ham himself, together with generous helpings of soup, home-baked bread, and "fine desserts". Well, it's what the hunger strikers would have wanted.

Yesterday, this half-baked work hit the shelves of all good book shops - or at least all book shops who know what's good for them.

You can even get a signed copy direct from Sinn Fein HQ, featuring the signatures not only of the former MP for West Belfast, now a TD, but of his co-helpers, mysterious mentor Ted Howell and former blanketman Padraic Wilson, who categorically denies presiding over kangaroo courts, but who apparently does know how to assemble some improvised bush tucker at short notice when Gerry puts in the order. Has Padraic been signed up for this year's I'm A Celebrity yet?

The whole thing is being released under the code name The Negotiator's Cookbook, which, let's be clear, is in no way meant as a waggish nod to the infamous bomb-making manual, The Anarchist Cookbook.

Any resemblance between the two titles is entirely coincidental, because Gerry Adams was never even in the IRA. Sure, the only timer he knows how to use is the one on his oven. Allegedly.

Predictably, the release of this latest cash cow by the Falls Road's answer to Paul Rankin has already resulted in more food-related puns than an episode of The Great Colonial Oppressors' Bake Off, as it's no doubt known in Adams' house.

Will it sell like hot cakes? Should everything its authors say be taken with a pinch of salt? Is Gerry finally going to spill the beans? Feel free to groan.

The authors have indulged in a few of these less than tasteful quips themselves, including "Turkey Ar La" and "The Carmel Lite And The Salad Box". After all, what could be more heart-warming than three senior republicans joking about violence?

It's a wonder they didn't go the whole hog and also include recipes for the most effective "bangers".

As for rotten eggs, Gerry's known more than his fair share of those down the years, but still fails to explain in his new book what exactly he was cooking up with them behind closed doors in his kitchen cabinet.

His recipe for waffle would have been worth seeing too. He's been living off it for years.

Either way, can we all please pause for one moment and reflect on how deeply weird it is for the public face of the republican movement during decades of the darkest days of the Troubles to now be milking his fame with a book of recipes? Because this really isn't normal, is it?

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat didn't break off from trying to destroy Israel to share tips on making hummus.

Adams may be at a loose end after standing down as Sinn Fein president, but that's no reason to indulge him as he makes more dough by sugar-coating his past and serving it up as a tasty titbit.

What comes out of his mouth is bad enough without knowing what goes into it as well.

Only one thing's certain. Like everything else written by Gerry Adams, The Negotiator's Cookbook is bound to be full of porkie pies.

Belfast Telegraph

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