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Live And Let Fry - Bond Eats

12 June, 2018

Now any reader of the Bond novels, any viewer of the movies knows that James Bond maintains a dangerous lifestyle. Bullets, bombs, barracuda, sharks and other creepy crawly monsters under the sea, missiles, poisoned knives, centipedes, and other evil wicked things all conspire to send double o seven to double o heaven.

But one clear and present danger often ignored is what Bond eats.

Illustration by Fay Dalton in Casino Royale, The Folio Society

In Casino Royale, Bond informs us, “I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink.”

He also takes some significant health risks. Of course, back in the days of Ian Fleming, (who imbued his alter ego Bond with his own dietary decisions), the only thing Ian knew that he was doing that was bad for his health was smoking seventy cigarettes a day, and drowning the results in copious amounts of alcohol.

He didn’t care.

Despite his smoking and drinking habits, Fleming was able to avoid a premature death in his sixties by dying even more prematurely at the age of 56. But Bond hangs on, despite the noshing no-nos he commits on a regular basis.

Of course this is fiction we’re talking about.

Now we learn in From Russia with Love, that Bond’s favorite meal was breakfast. His usual repast consisted of two large cups of coffee, boiled or scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, marmalade, strawberry jam, and honey. Or to otherwise name it, a large amount of caffeine, dietary cholesterol, red meat with preservatives, and high sugar content spreads.

Perhaps he was able to survive this killer cuisine because at least when he was in his hotel in Istanbul, he ordered “yoghurt, green figs and coffee.” (Better at least because of the “yoghurt” and green figs).

Yoghurt, green figs and coffee

When he has lunch with Kerim Bey, he does somewhat better. Broiled lamb with onions and rice, grilled sardines, steak tartare. He could have done without the Raki, the Turkish version of Ouzo, but then this is Bond we are talking about.

God knows what was in the ragout he ate in the gypsy camp. It was probably a greater risk than the gunfight that broke out with the Bulgarians for dessert.

Bond would sometimes leave the simple fixings of his breakfast, for a fancier feast—especially in the presence of some nubile young thing. With Vesper in Casino Royale, he dines on caviar, tournedos, artichoke heart, and half an avocado. Champagne of course; Taittinger.

After getting his balls broken by Le Chiffre, it’s broiled lobster.

Broiled Lobster

In between the gourmet gleanings, he manages to get in his regular scrambled eggs and bacon.

In Live and Let Die, Bond is with Felix Leiter in a New York hotel, and they chow down on soft shell crabs (cholesterol) hamburgers (fat) French fries, (Oy Vey!) broccoli (one good thing, probably a prandial prediction about the future producer of the movies), ice cream (sugar) melted butterscotch (SUGAR!!!) and Liebfraumilch.

Somehow he survived that to eat fried chicken, bacon and sweet corn at Ma Frazier’s in Harlem, New York City, and the garbage breakfast he had with Solitaire in a diner in Jacksonville Florida.

live and let die meal - photo by Charlotte Omnès

Live and Let Die, Ma Frazier's food - photo © Charlotte Omnès for her Dying to Eat project

Things get really colorful for Bond’s stomach when he is at his hotel in Jamaica, and is faced with a bowl full of paw-paw, red bananas, purple star apples, tangerines, to which he must unhealthily add his scrambled eggs and bacon, Jamaican marmalade, guava jelly, and blue mountain coffee.

In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond again dines with Leiter in Saratoga, New York, where they have, guess what? Scrambled eggs, sausage, buttered rye toast, and iced coffee. At this repast at “Chicken in the Basket,” he washes it all down with Miller High Life beer.

Do you remember the scene in the movie Dr. No where Bond is crawling through the hot vent work? Can you imagine what it must be like for his blood to try and crawl through his circulatory system, given what he eats on a regular basis?

Speaking of Dr. No, at least once, Bond makes the right decision to skip the fruit, when it turns out a “compliments of the house” fruit basket in his hotel contains a carefully prepared poisoned nectarine. (That nectarine almost became a “necro-rine.”)

Before Dr. No seriously tries to kill Bond, he starts the process by offering him a breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast, bacon, grilled kidney (Bond could probably use a spare of his own), sausage, rolls, marmalade, honey, strawberry jam.

Bond, being Bond is able to survive that breakfast.

In Goldfinger, Bond is treated to a Miami meal at “Bill’s on the Beach,” where he dines on crab, melted butter, toast and pink champagne. (Cholesterol, high sugar content).

Crab, melted butter and pink champagne

These clippings are not from all the books of course, because I want the gentle reader to have some fun on his own exploring the dietary disaster that is James Bond. Scientific analysis of Bond’s eating and drinking habits which have been published, would definitely answer the question as to his dying of a ripe old age as “No, No Seven.”
 

About the author
W. Adam Mandelbaum, besides being a New York attorney and former US Intelligence operative, is the blog master at www.vipbachelorclub.com where you can learn many tricks and tips to becoming a VIP bachelor (or married gent).


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