James Bond’s food: “American cooking at its rare best”

In the first chapter of Live And Let Die James Bond arrives in New York City where he receives the full red carpet treatment as a guest of the FBI.

Room service

After being whisked through immigration Bond is being chauffeured to the St Regis hotel where he meets Captain Dexter of the FBI and CIA buddy Felix Leiter, who immediately mixes a Martini . Leiter is acting as a liaison officer on the mission between the FBI, whose remit covers the US, and Bond, who is dealing with the Jamaican connection.

Bond’s suitcase is brought up to the suite while they are drinking, as well as two trolleys loaded with covered dishes, linen and cutlery. After setting a folding table the waiters disappear to leave the three mean to their meal, which Ian Fleming describes as “American cooking at its rare best”.

The meal consists of soft-shell crabs with tartare sauce, medium rare beef hamburgers, French fries and broccoli, a mixed salad with thousand island dressing and ice-cream with melted butterscotch, although Bond has a “mental reservation” about the butterscotch, washed down by “as good a Liebfraumilch as you can get in America”.

Finally, after ending the meal with coffee after eating in silence, they get down to business when Dexter asks Bond to tell him what he knows about the case involving Mr Big and a hoard of treasure belonging to Bloody Morgan.

A gastronomic tour of America

All in all Live And Let Die turns out to provide quite a gastronomic tour of both America and Jamaica, with numerous meals described in varying degrees of detail. Because of this it is possible 007’s reputation for fine dining originated with this book (also see James Bond’s food); I have looked for no evidence of this either way and Bond’s meals with Vesper offered us our first culinary experiences with Bond, but while in the United States in Live And Let Die we are privy to the following meals:

United States

  • At Ma Frazier’s in Harlem, famed for its southern cooking, Bond and Leiter eat Little Neck Clams and Fried Chicken Maryland with bacon and sweetcorn while the waiter points out various celebrities.
  • After returning to his hotel after his first encounter with Mr Big, James Bond orders calls room serice to order his breakfast: double pineapple juice, cornflakes and cream, shirred eggs with bacon, double espresso, and toast and marmalade.
  • While travelling down to St Petersburg in Florida by train Bond orders chicken sandwiches, Old Fashioneds with Old Grandad bourbon and Sanka decaffeinated coffee be brought to their compartment for he and Solitaire.
  • Again in their train compartment they order scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, salad, domestic Camembert and dry martinis after dismissing the menu.
  • Orange juice, coffee and scrambled eggs at an all-night diner after disembarking the train at Jacksonville.
  • Tomato juice, boiled fish with white sauce, frozen turkey with cranberry and lemon curd with cream substitute with Leiter after Solitaire is snatched in St Petersburg.
  • Steak and french fries at Pete’s Diner, with a pint of Old Grandad and two cups of strong coffee, after Leiter “disagreed with something that ate him”.
  • A three-decker western sandwich and coffee at a cafeteria in Tampa prior to departing for Jamaica via Nassau.
  • On the flight Bond enjoys an unspecified early dinner and cocktail prior to a half hour stopover in The Bahamas.

Jamaica

  • On his first morning in Jamaica Bond breakfasts on paw-paw with a slice of green lime, red bananas, purple star apples, tangerines, scrambled eggs and bacon, almost black Jamaican marmalade and guava jelly, along with Blue Mountain coffee.
  • Quarrel makes a “succulent” meal of fish, eggs and vegetables, which becomes their staple diet while he gets Bond fit in order to take on Mr Big.
  • Following the mission Quarrel has a cook help him prepare black crabs, suckling pig, avocado pear salad, guavas and coconut cream for Bond and Solitaire while on “passionate leave”, while Strangways left a case of the best champagne in Jamaica to go with it.

If you are interested in learning more about James Bond’s food I recommend Licence To Cook from Amazon:

Order “Licence To Cook” by Edward Biddulph:

Licence to CookPaperback:

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

 


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