Fic­tion

My Fine Fellow

Jen­nieke Cohen

  • Review
By – March 25, 2022

Warn­ing; do not read this book while hun­gry! The food descrip­tions are scrump­tious, unique, and irre­sistible. Culi­nary exper­tise and inno­va­tion over­flow through the pages.

A gen­der-flipped retelling of the musi­cal My Fair Lady and its pre­de­ces­sor, the play Pyg­malion by George Bernard Shaw, My Fine Fel­low fol­lows the intense efforts of two young Eng­lish women, stu­dents at a culi­nary insti­tute called the Roy­al Acad­e­my of Culi­nar­ia Artis­ti­cus, to remold a scruffy young man sell­ing empanadas on the streets of 1830s Lon­don into a gen­tle­man food chef. One of the young women intends this trans­for­ma­tion to be her culi­nary school grad­u­a­tion project. Work­ing against the clock on upgrad­ing his cloth­ing, speech, man­ners, and food prep skills, they encounter chal­lenges both imag­ined and unex­pect­ed. Romance sweet­ens the air and adds an intox­i­cat­ing spice to every aspect of the book.

The char­ac­ters are delight­ful and the prej­u­dices, includ­ing anti­semitism, as well as the his­to­ry of the times, are as skill­ful­ly por­trayed as the instruc­tions for prop­er ways to cut straw­ber­ries and onions.

The author shares one recipe at the end of the sto­ry, as sweet and deli­cious as the book itself: choco­late coconut empanadas!

Award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and free­lance writer, Helen Weiss Pin­cus, has taught mem­oir writ­ing and cre­ative writ­ing through­out the NY Metro area to senior cit­i­zens and high school stu­dents. Her work has been pub­lished in The New York Times, The Record, The Jew­ish Stan­dard, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. She recent­ly added Bub­by” to her job description.

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