I enjoy cooking. I don’t do it often; indeed, it’s a running joke in my family that all I know how to cook is hamburgers. I did cook a complex three-course meal once, but for reasons I won’t go into, I don’t ever talk about that one.
Now, it will be a surprise to nobody that when it comes to emulating James Bond, I occasionally take it to the nth degree. No, not killing people, or being a heel. But I do sometimes cook like him. Yes indeed, it is possible to go beyond the realm of Vesper martinis when adventuring culinarily, Bond-style.
Allow me to share with you the heart attack-inducing recipe for “Scrambled Eggs James Bond”, as included with the Fleming short story, “007 in New York”:
For four individualists:
12 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper
5-6 oz. of fresh butter.
Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk.
While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbes. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittinger) and low music.
I was home alone one night and in need of dinner, so I thought, “Why not partake in some unmitigated wankery?” So I trotted off to find my copy of Octopussy/The Living Daylights, in which I knew I would find the recipe.
As I didn’t have a drivers’ licence at the time, I couldn’t go out and buy chives to finely chop, and nor did I know what fines herbes were. To be honest, I still don’t. So I didn’t use either of those things. Similarly, as it wasn’t the 1950s, I didn’t have a copper saucepan – there’s this flash new invention called Teflon, and for ease of cleaning and an increasing lack of concern for verisimilitude in my James Bond experience, I chose to again diverge from Fleming’s instructions. And finally, as we were at the time a predominately margarine household, I didn’t have any butter. Once again, I veered from Fleming towards what was becoming, well, “Scrambled Eggs Normal People”.
Doing some overly complex mathematics considering the task at hand, I worked out how much stuff I would need to make enough just for me. So, that would be three eggs, some salt and pepper, and 56.7 grams (to one decimal place) of yellow spread. I think I rounded it to 60 grams. I scrambled those eggs like they were Red Grant in the train compartment in From Russia With Love (so, violently and without musical accompaniment). There was some lovely crusty bread lying around so I turned that into toast (using, would you believe, the toaster). Realising that our 21st century household was, and still is, totally devoid of copper dinnerware, I instead sought out the special grownups-only Mikasa dinner plates. The aesthetic and environment remained cosy and low-key, however, so I believe Fleming would have approved.
Lighting a couple of candles for my romantic dinner for one, I cued up some appropriately soft music (and that is one thing we have plenty of). I turned to pour myself some pink Taittinger before remembering I was underage, poor, and without a Bentley Continental to go and collect some in – consequently, I settled for apple juice.
I learned a number of things from my venture into the realms of Bondian fantasy. The first is that three eggs with butter is quite a lot – normally when I scramble eggs I just chuck the eggs in the pan without anything else, and adding other stuff makes a very filling meal indeed. Secondly, dining alone in a properly curated setting only serves to highlight the fact that you’re dining alone. And finally, when I considered all the little changes and modifications I made to the recipe and serving suggestions, I still felt like I hadn’t really had Scrambled Eggs James Bond. I’d had Scrambled Eggs David Niven As James Bond In 1967’s Casino Royale – nought but a cheap parody. Still, I’d give it another go with the proper ingredients and another individualist or three with whom I could share the experience. Anyone keen?