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Tag: Bond

Breakfast with Bond

Tuesday, 10 November, 2015 0 Comments

When he’s not gallivanting around the world saving civilization from the likes of SMERSH and SPECTRE, James Bond likes to relax at home. The day begins with the same routine: breakfast, and every breakfast is the same: a boiled egg, two slices of whole wheat toast with marmalade jam and coffee. Ian Fleming describes this in great detail in From Russia With Love. The brown egg is boiled for three-and-a-third minutes before being placed in Bond’s favourite eggcup:

“It was a very fresh, speckled brown egg from French Marans hens owned by some friend of May in the country. (Bond disliked white eggs and, faddish as he was in many small things, it amused him to maintain that there was such a thing as the perfect boiled egg.)”

Marans hens, for those who don’t know poultry, originated in the département of Charente-Maritime, in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France. In Fleming’s short story, 007 in New York, Bond’s passion for Maran eggs is such that he travels the length and breadth of the city in an attempt to track some down only to be told by a grocery store clerk, “We don’t stock ’em, mister. People think they’re dirty.”

Bond had better luck with eggs in the Big Apple in Live and Let Die. On the run from the evil Mr. Big, 007 “hides” at the St. Regis Hotel, where he orders a substantial breakfast: pineapple juice, cornflakes, eggs and bacon, toast with marmalade and a double espresso. Although he is in mortal danger, Bond does not want to face death over sunny-side up eggs. He insists instead on œufs cocotte à la Provençale.

Speaking of eggs and New York City, Paul Simon says he was eating in a Chinese restaurant in downtown Manhattan and there was a chicken and egg dish on the menu called “Mother and Child Reunion.” Simon: “And I said, I gotta use that one.”

The best boiled egg

“Have you ever seen a man, woman, or child who wasn’t eating an egg or just going to eat an egg or just coming away from eating an egg? I tell you, the good old egg is the foundation of daily life.” — P.G. Wodehouse, Love Among the Chickens

Waiting for Bond

Friday, 18 October, 2013 0 Comments

The order has been placed with Amazon and the delivery van will soon be on the way carrying Solo. We’re talking the new James Bond thriller by William Boyd. While we wait, impatiently, let’s enjoy the cover art of the first 007 adventure, Casino Royale. By the way, all the Bond books were published in Britain by Jonathan Cape between April 1953 and June 1966 and the cover art ranged from classic to catastrophic. Snippet:

“There’s a Good Book about goodness and how to be good and so forth, but there’s no Evil Book about how to be evil and how to be bad. The Devil had no prophets to write his Ten Commandments, and no team of authors to write his biography. His case has gone completely by default. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about evil people, folklore about evil people. All we have is the living example of people who are least good, or our own intuition.” Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

Casino Royale

Will Cochrane kills and cooks

Wednesday, 18 September, 2013 0 Comments

“Will waited. The sailor looked around, but not back at Will. Beside the man was the Lubyanka building. It was the current headquarters of the Border Guard Service, and it also contained one directorate of the FSB. But during the era of the Soviet Union it had been a notorious prison for political dissidents and spies.”

Sentinel That’s a snippet from Sentinel by Matthew Dunn and the “Will” there is the novel’s protagonist, Will Cochrane of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, or MI6. In these days of ascendant Putanism, the West needs heroes to take the fight into the heart of darkness and if that means going mano-a-mano with the enemy on Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya in the middle of Moscow, our spycatcher is up for it:

“Will sprang to his feet and jumped onto the hood of the second Range Rover, ignoring the target, who was still in the vehicle. He ran over its roof, jumped onto the Audi, and dived right over it towards the FSB man, who was now in the rear of the car and had leveled his gun at Roger. Crashing midair into the man, Will wrapped his arms around the Russian’s upper body and limbs, pinning his arms tight against his sides before they hit the ground. He kept squeezing him tight.”

Unlike James Bond, who spends a lot of time squeezing tight members of the opposite sex, Will Cochrane is a rather monkish secret agent. Instead of flirting, he longs for love and that Bondsian double entendre with Pussy Galore is definitely not his cup of tea. Whereas 007 despises domestic duties, our Will is ever so useful in the kitchen:

“Expertly, he peeled and diced shallots and tossed them into the pan with olive oil and butter. Then he deboned and portioned the chicken, pan-fried it with crushed garlic, pepper, and finely chopped herbs, splashed red wine into the pan, and allowed the alcohol to burn off before tasting the liquid and adding some salt and sugar.”

This is far superior to the bacon and scrambled eggs that Bond manages to cook. Still, 007 fans will know that he did eat a doner kebab in From Russia with Love. With Will Cochrane, Matthew Dunn has created a spy with potential, but he needs to make him less nerdy and more witty if he’s going to win over a greater public. The eight-page glossary at the end of Sentinel is useful for those who need to know that the AEK-919K Kashtan submachine gun fires 9mm rounds, but it does reflect the weight of terminology that the reader has to cope with.

Then there’s the confusion of prime minister and president, which could be a consequence of Putinism as the Russian leader has held both offices. But more about that here next week.