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.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
His two battered suitcases came and he unpacked leisurely and then ordered from Room Service a bottle of the Taittinger Blanc de Blancs that he had made his traditional drink at Royale.
All the plates, of some hideous local ware, bore the jingle, irritatingly inscrutable, “Jamais en Vain, Toujours en Vin,” and the surly waiter, stale with “fin de saison,” had served him with the fly-walk of the Paté Maison (sent back for a new slice) and a Poularde à la crème that was the only genuine antique in the place. Bond had moodily washed down this sleazy provender with a bottle of instant Pouilly-Fuissé and was finally insulted the next morning by a bill for the meal in excess of five pounds.
The half-bottle of Krug he had ordered came. After the huissier had half filled the glass, Bond topped it to the brim.
With efficient, housekeeperly movement he took out a bottle of Pinchbottle Haig & Haig, another of I.W. Harper bourbon, two pint glasses that looked like Waterford, a bucket of ice cubes, a siphon of soda and a flagon of iced water. One by one he placed these on the desk between his chair and Bond’s. Then while Bond poured himself a stiff bourbon and water with plenty of ice, he went and sat down across the desk from Bond, reached for the Haig & Haig and said, looking Bond very directly in the eye, “I learned who you are from a good friend in the Deuxième in Paris.”
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, go to bed with half a grain of seconal.
Bond had a double brandy and ginger ale and stood aloof from the handful of other privileged passengers in the gracious lounge, trying to feel like a baronet.
“Whiskey and soda, please,” he said, and heard his voice from far away.
Bond, despite his forswearing of spécialités, decided to give the chicken a chance.
He sat down and ordered a double medium-dry vodka martini, on the rocks, with lemon peel, and edged his foot up against Ruby’s.
Menus were handed round and Bond’s drink came. He took a long pull at it and ordered Oeufs Gloria and a green salad.
Bond ordered another, and for himself, a double bourbon on the rocks.
“And one more thing, if you will,” said Bond politely, “A small flask of schnapps.”
Bond concentrated on getting plenty of whisky and food under his belt.
“Get her to brew me plenty of black coffee and to pour two jiggers of our best brandy into the pot.”
Bond was aching for a drink. He got a small glass of very old Marsala and most of a bottle of very bad Algerian wine.
At last the plum pudding arrived, flaming traditionally. Mrs. Hammond had implanted several cheap silver gewgaws in it and M nearly broke his tooth on the miniature horseshoe. Bond had got the bachelor’s button.
“Whisky please, sir,” said Bond with infinite relief.
“I had two ham sandwiches with stacks of mustard and half a pint of Harper’s bourbon on the rocks.”
Bond poured himself a stiff Jack Daniel’s sourmash bourbon on the rocks and added some water.
Bond, obedient to the traditions of the town, made a simple dinner off the finest foie gras, pink and succulent, and half a bottle of champagne, and retired gratefully to bed.
Bond accepted a foot of garlic sausage, a hunk of bread and a bottle of the “Pis-de-Chat,” and sat on an upturned packing-case while Marc-Ange went back to supervising the loading of the “stores”—Schmeisser sub-machine guns and six-inch square packets in red oilcloth.
It was graceful and simple and the taxi-man was also in favour, so the deal was done and the two men went off to celebrate at the Franziskaner Keller, where they ate mounds of Weisswurst and drank four steins of beer each and swore they wouldn’t ever fight each other again.
Bond went down and, after careful consideration, decided that schnapps would go with his beer and ordered a double Steinhäger.
Previous installments of this series may be found here.