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.
His final whiskey and soda in the luxurious flat in Park Lane had been no different from the ten preceding ones, but it had gone down reluctantly and had left a bitter taste and an ugly sensation of surfeit.
Bond swallowed down two Phensics and reached for the Enos.
She consulted the list and ladled a hot vegetable soup into a plastic mug. Bond took the mug.
Nothing seemed to matter any more but the single orange and hot water for breakfast, the mugs of hot soup, and the cups of tea which Bond filled with spoonfuls of brown sugar, the only variety that has Mr Wain’s sanction.
The girl laughed. “Mr Swain did say dandelion tea would be best for you. But I thought a little stimulant might be good, I mean just this once. So I brought the brandy with me.”
The routine of the early morning glass of hot water, the orange, carefully sliced into symmetrical pigs by some ingenious machine wielded, no doubt, by the wardress in charge of diets, then the treatments, the hot soup, the siesta, and the blank, aimless walk or bus ride to the nearest tea-shop for the priceless strength-giving cups of tea laced with brown sugar. Bond loathed and despised tea, that flat, soft, time-wasting opium of the masses, but on his empty stomach, and in his febrile state, the sugary brew acted almost as an intoxicant.
Bond poured the last of his tea on to a mound of brown sugar.
On the day after James Bond had completed his nature cure and had left for London after, the night before, scoring a most satisfactorily left and right of Spaghetti Bolognese and Chianti at Lucien’s in Brighton and of Miss Patricia Fearing on the squab seats from her bubble car high up on the Downs, an emergency meeting of the Trustees of FIRCO was called for seven o’clock in the evening.
James Bond scraped the last dregs of yoghurt out of the bottom of the carton that said “Goat-milk culture. From our own Goat Farm at Stanway, Glos. The Heart of the Cotswolds. According to an Authentic Bulgarian recipe.” He took an Energen roll, sliced it carefully—they are apt to crumble—and reached for the black treacle. He masticated each mouthful thoroughly. Saliva contains ptyalin. Thorough mastication creates ptyalin which helps convert starches into sugar to supply energy to the body.
He reached into his hip-pocket for the gunmetal cigarette case that now contained only nine cigarettes, took one and lit it, drawing the smoke deep down into his lungs and letting it out with a long, reflective hiss.
Bond held up his hand. “Don’t tell me, May. You were right. I can’t do my work on carrot juice. I’ve got to be off in an hour and I need some proper food. Be an angel and make me your kind of scrambled eggs—four eggs. Four rashers of that American hickory-smoked bacon if we’ve got any left, hot buttered toast—your kind, not wholemeal—and a big pot of coffee, double strength. And bring in the drink tray.
Bond said, “What do you call hard? I’ll have a vodka and tonic with a dash of bitters.”
Leiter checked in and they went up to his room and sent for two double dry Martinis on the rocks and the menu.
From the pretentious dishes, “For Your Particular Consideration,” printed in Ornamental Gothic, Bond chose Native Seafood Cocktail Suprême followed by Disjointed Home Farm Chicken, Sauté au Cresson, which was described in italics as “Tender Farm Chicken, Broiled to a Rich Brown, Basted with Creamery Butter and Disjointed for Your Convenience. Price 38/6 or dollars 5.35.”
Half an hour and one more double dry Martini later, their luncheon came.
Back in his hotel, Bond took a shower, swallowed a double Bourbon Old Fashioned and threw himself down on his bed.
The Martinis arrived.
Bond said, “Well, thanks for the game. I will order champagne and caviar for three.”
In his room, Bond ordered a club sandwich and a double Bourbon on the rocks and then called the Police Commissioner.
Bond ordered poached eggs with rye toast and coffee.
He drank down a glass of iced water, and listened to the captain explaining how the ice cubes and the water were distilled from the sea.
Previous installments of this series may be found here.