James Bond’s Food: dinner with Vesper

Right from the start Ian Fleming often treated us to James Bond’s meals in elaborate descriptions that helped label Bond – and Fleming – as either a gourmet or gourmand.

Caviar

The first time we are privy one of 007’s meals is in Casino Royale, when he dines with Vesper Lynd prior to high stakes baccarat against Le Chiffre and despite the popular conception of James Bond as always living the highlife, Bond’s meals are not always as luxurious as this.

Both start with caviar, which Bond asks to be brought with plenty of toast, and a carafe of chilled vodka; in fact we learn an awful lot about Bond when he tells Vesper that the problem with ordering caviar is not in the quantity served, but the amount of toast they’ll receive.

To follow the caviar Bond opts for small underdone tournedos (small steak fillets) with sauce Béarnaise and a coeur d’artichaut (artichoke heart), while Vesper chooses plain grilled rognon de veau (veal kidneys) with Pommes soufflés (potato souffle); they wash that down with a bottle of Taittinger Blanc de Blanc Brut 1943.

For dessert Vesper eats fraises des bois (wild strawberries) with a lot of cream, while Bond orders half avocado pear with a little French dressing.

A strange dessert

The latter is something I’ve always considered an oddity and have sometimes wondered whether Fleming made a mistake; perhaps, with post-war rationing, Fleming had not actually encountered the fruit. However, that would be surprising given his knowledge of Jamaica where it is common.

However, Edward Biddulph, author of Licence To Cook and the Bond Memes blog assured me on Twitter that this was common:

Bond also eats an avocado with French dressing for dessert in Diamonds Are Forever, so the meal above is not the only occasion.

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

Order “Licence To Cook” by Edward Biddulph:

Licence to CookPaperback:

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