While martinis and hotel room seductions distract James Bond throughout 007 movies like Spectre, he's not depicted as the glutton we know and love. True fans know that the original James Bond book series lingers on food, described in vibrant, delicious and occasionally instructive detail. You didn't know Sir Ian Fleming was a food writer?
Here's proof. Take this excerpt from Goldfinger: “With ceremony, a wide silver dish of crabs, big ones, their shells and claws broken, was placed in the middle of the table. A silver sauceboat brimming with melted butter and a long rack of toast was put beside each of their plates. The tankards of champagne frothed pink…The meat of the stone crabs was the tenderest, sweetest shellfish he had ever tasted. It was perfectly set off by the dry toast and slightly burned taste of the melted butter.” Bond starts meals with Beluga caviar; eats avocados with French dressing long before avocado mania; even eats live, still-wriggling lobster in You Only Live Twice. Bond is, for lack of a more Bond-ian word, a foodie.
Though adventurous with his orders, Bond loves one food more than all others: eggs. “Breakfast was Bond’s favorite meal of the day,” Fleming writes in From Russia with Love. It’s a hearty start to the day, typically consisting of bacon, black coffee, chilled orange juice, toast, marmalade and eggs—usually scrambled, though Bond is known to enjoy a late-night Eggs Benedict every now and then. Here, six passages expound on Bond’s love of eggs—including a recipe for Eggs “James Bond,” which Fleming printed in the short story 007 in New York.
1. Live and Let Die: Bond begins his investigation of Mr. Big's treasure-smuggling scheme on a remote Jamaican island—but first, some breakfast. “Paw-paw with a slice of green lime, a dish piled with red bananas, purple star-apples and tangerines, scrambled eggs and bacon, Blue Mountain coffee—the most delicious in the world—Jamaican marmalade, almost black, and guava jelly. As Bond, wearing shorts and sandals, had his breakfast on the veranda and gazed down on the sunlit panorama of Kingston and Port Royal, he thought how lucky he was and what wonderful moments of consolation there were for the darkness and danger of his profession.”
2. Diamonds Are Forever: On a road trip to Saratoga Springs with CIA agent Felix Leiter, Bond stops for some lunch at The Chicken in a Basket. “The scrambled eggs and sausages and hot buttered rye toast and the Millers Highlife beer came quickly and were good, and so was the iced coffee that followed it, and with their second glass they got away from ‘shop’ and their private lives and got on to Saratoga.”
3. From Russia with Love: Feeling low after months of inaction and a bad breakup, Bond tries to cheer himself up with breakfast. “Breakfast was Bond’s favorite meal of the day. When he was stationed in London it was always the same. It consisted of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex, of which he drank two large cups, black and without sugar. The single egg, in the dark blue egg-cup with a gold ring around the top, was boiled for three and a third minutes. It was a very fresh, speckled brown egg from French Marans hens owned by some friend of May in the country. (Bond disliked white eggs and, faddish as he was in many small things, it amused him to maintain that there was such a thing as the perfect boiled egg.) Then there were two thick slices of whole wheat toast, a large pat of deep yellow Jersey butter and three squat glass jars containing Tiptree ‘Little Scarlet’ strawberry jam; Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Forthum’s.”
4. The Living Daylights: Bond is in East Berlin, helping another British agent escape. Morose and depressed about having to wear drab "middle-European clothes," he drowns his sorrows in eggs and whiskey. “Bond lit the gas cooker, burned the message with a sneer at his profession, and then brewed himself a vast dish of scrambled eggs and bacon which he heaped on buttered toast and washed down with black coffee into which he had poured a liberal tot of whiskey.”
5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: The night before traveling to Switzerland to meet up with his one true love, Tracy (as well as SPECTRE chief Blofeld), Bond makes plans for a cozy night in. “As the taxi got under way, Bond made his plan for the evening. He would first do an extremely careful packing job of his single suitcase, the one that had no tricks to it, have two double vodkas and tonics with a dash of Angostura, eat a large dish of May’s specialty—scrambled eggs fines herbes—have two more vodkas and tonics, and then, slightly drunk, got to be with half a grain of Seconal.”
6. 007 in New York: On a quick mission to New York City to warn a fellow British agent about her KGB boyfriend, Bond stops in at the Plaza. “The Edwardian Room at the Plaza, a corner table. They didn’t know him there, but he knew he could get what he wanted to eat…He would have one more dry martini at the table, then smoked salmon and the particular scrambled eggs he had once (Felix Leiter knew the head-waiter) instructed them how to make.”
Scrambled Eggs ‘James Bond’
For four individualists:
12 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper
5-6 ounces of fresh butter
Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy-bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk.
While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fine herbs. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittainger) and low music.
Recipe Pictured: Soft Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Sablefish and Trout Roe