An upcoming vacation has us stocking up on pulp novels, and it was impossible to resist breaking into Ian Fleming’s Moonraker a bit early. James Bond novels often include wonderful descriptions of classic meals and this is no exception, starting with dinner at M’s mythical Blades card club in London:
“Well,” said M. “Caviar for me. Devilled [sic] kidney and a slice of your excellent bacon. Peas and new potatoes. Strawberries in kirsch. What about you, James?”
“I’ve got a mania for really good smoked salmon,” said bond. Then he pointed down the menu. “Lamb cutlets. The same vegetables as you, as it’s May. Asparagus with Bernaise sauce sounds wonderful. And perhaps a slice of pineapple.”
Washing the meal down with pre-war Wolfschmidt vodka, Mouton Rothschild ‘34 and Dom Perignon ‘46, Bond states that, “the best English cooking is the best in the world.”
But that’s just our own latest exposure to the vivid descriptions of Bond’s culinary escapades. Throughout the series the meals keep coming, including crab legs and pink champagne at “Bills on the Beach” (rumored to be a thinly disguised description of Joe’s Stone Crab) in Miami, langouste in France and an endless stream of scrambled eggs and bacon all over the world. He even manages to scare up eggs Benedict and a bottle of Old Granddad on a train in Japan in You Only Live Twice.
Fleming can cook a meal on the page that hits as close to the gut as anything that doesn’t actually consist of food. In fact, we would submit that many of his descriptions come off more satisfying than the real thing. We’ll take a dining chapter of Bond over a real-life Egg McMuffin any day.
It’s unlikely, on our upcoming trip, that we’ll enjoy a “delicious lunch served by an even more delicious stewardess” on Continental, as Bond does in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. As long as there is a Fleming novel or two in the beach bag, the real-life menu can’t hope to compare. We’ll let it try, though.
So What is James Bond’s Favorite Drink? [Accidental Hedonist]
James Bond food and eating [The James Bond Dossier]
Joe’s Stone Crab [MenuPages]
Joe’s Stone Crab [Official Site]
Photo: Pink Champagne (a Bond favorite) by Gareth Lowe1 [Flickr]