As transformational journeys go, this one, it might be said, takes the biscuit. Gerry Adams, the former president of Sinn Féin and a veteran Irish republican, has revealed he is writing a cookery book.
The book, which is being teed up for the Christmas market, will contain recipes with “some of the best-kept secrets” of the 1998 peace process, he said.
Adams gave details of his latest venture at a talk in Belfast, tweeting what appeared to be the front cover of the book, entitled The Negotiator’s Cookbook.
The revelation cooked up a storm on social media, with suggested recipe titles including “the peas process”, “pizza in our time”, “Mary Lou’s Irish stew” and “Cookie Ár Lá” – a reference to the Irish republican phrase Tiocfaidh ár lá, meaning “our day will come”.
However, others voiced incredulity at Adams’ decision to publish something so seemingly frivolous when there were still so many questions about deaths during the Troubles.
His co-authors Ted Howell and Padraic Wilson are fellow republicans. Howell, once described as the closest thing Sinn Féin has to an éminence grise, is said to be one of Adams’ closest confidants.
Adams said the book would contain recipes that kept negotiators going through the peace process talks in 1997 and 1998.
He reportedly told an audience in Belfast: “The British never fed us. They never had any food. But as intrepid republicans and being blessed by one or two great cooks, these are the recipes that sustained the Irish negotiating team.
“It contains some of the best-kept secrets of the Irish peace process,” he added, disclosing that he was also writing a book of short stories.
While it is safe to bet that Adams will never make it to the Great British Bake Off, he revealed he was a fan of British children’s literature when he was growing up, devouring the books of Enid Blyton and Roy of the Rovers.
Adams, who was once one of the most feared figures in Anglo-Irish politics, has undergone something of a folksy makeover in the past five years, tweeting pictures of himself hillwalking and doing daily chores.
In his tweets and interviews, he has revealed he likes “trampolining before dawn” with his dog, “peeling spuds” listening to Joan Baez – and toy ducks.