From Russia with Love
In the interest of Culinary Vicariousness, we are exploring and presenting to you the Strictly Gustatory Adventures of world-renowned super-spy James Bond, as recorded in the novels of Commander Ian Fleming.
Bond filled his large coffee cup to the brim with black coffee.
The single egg, in the dark blue egg cup with a gold ring round the top, was boiled for three and a third minutes.
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 Fortnum’s.
He ordered a tumbler of ouzo and drank it down and chased it with a mouthful of ice water.
The yoghourt, in a blue china bowl, was deep yellow and with the consistency of thick cream. The green figs, ready peeled, we bursting with ripeness, and the Turkish coffee was jet black and with the burned taste that showed it had been freshly ground.
Bond sipped his coffee and put it down.
Coffee came again, and then more coffee, and the big room grew thick with cigarette smoke as the two men took each shred of evidence, dissected it and put it aside.
“Here you are my friend! Now, at once, some raki. You must be exhausted after your sight-seeing.” He fired orders at the waiter.
Bond’s sardines en papillote tasted like any other fried sardines.
The second course came, and with it a bottle of Kavaklidere, a rich coarse burgundy like any other Balkan wine. The kebab was good and tasted of smoked bacon fat and onions. Kerim ate a kind of Steak Tartare—a large flat hamburger of finely minced raw meat laced with peppers and chives and bound together with yolk of egg. He made Bond try a forkful. It was delicious. Bond said so.
With the coffee, the head clerk brought in two powerful flashlights which he put on the desk.
He was sitting, naked except for his shorts, at one of the windows of his room, sipping a vodka and tonic and looking out into the heart of the great tragic sunset over the Golden Horn.
In front of each of them was a large plate of some sort of ragout smelling strongly of garlic, a bottle of raki, a pitcher of water and a cheap plastic tumbler.
Bond halted his left hand in mid-air and moved it on to grasp the nearest raki bottle. He poured himself another half tumblerful and started to eat with his right hand. The ragout was delicious but steaming hot. Bond winced each time he dipped his fingers into it. Everyone watched them eat and from time to time the old woman dipped her fingers into Bond’s stew and chose a piece for him.
He added a dash of water to two tumblers of raki.
Hot coffee from the meagre little buffet at Pithion (there would be no restaurant car until midday), a painless visit from the Greek customs and passport control, and then the berths were folded away as the train hurried south towards the Gulf of Enez at the head of the Aegean.
They had breakfast of fried eggs and hard brown bread and coffee that was mostly chicory.
In the restaurant car, Bond ordered Americanos and a bottle of Chianti Broglio. The wonderful European hors d’oeuvres came.
Some tagliatelli verdi came, and the wine, and then a delicious escalope.
Bond ordered a double vodka martini.
Previous installments of this series may be found here.