While the short story 007 in New York is far from Ian Fleming at his best it does have one thing of interest; James Bond’s own recipe for scrambled eggs, a dish he consumes frequently throughout the books and a particular favourite of his creator.
During 1959 and 1960 Ian Fleming made two globetrotting trips for The Sunday Times, published in 1960 as a series named Thrilling Cities. In the articles Fleming provides his unique take on each of thirteen cities around the globe and such was their success that in 1963 the series was issued in book form by Jonathan Cape.
When it came to publication in the United States Fleming refused the request of New American Library to tone down his particularly harsh comments on New York but instead provided the short story 007 in New York for inclusion in the American edition.
Previously appearing as Agent 007 in New York in the New York Herald Tribune, the story provides an alternative view of the city written from the point of view of James Bond. The story was out of print for many years until finally added to Octopussy & The Living Daylights in 2002.
While the story has little of what you might expect from Ian Fleming at his best, it does have one point of particular interest; in a footnote Fleming provides the recipe for “Scrambled Eggs ‘James Bond’”.
Recipe for Scrambled Eggs ‘James Bond’ from 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.
It is also interesting to note that an original manuscript published in James Bond: The Man and His World (by Henry Chancellor, 2005) includes the recipe with a postscript; “I think you sometimes add cream instead of the last piece of Butter. G.”
Presumably the mysterious G is Fleming’s secretary Beryl Griffie-Williams, known simply as “Griffie”.
Other egg dishes
While James Bond often enjoys gourmet dining the dish that reoccurs more than any other throughout the books is scrambled eggs. So frequent is his consumption of the dish that it might be easier to note the three books in which scrambled eggs don’t appear; From Russia, With Love, You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun.
In place of scrambled eggs, Bond eats his eggs lightly boiled and fried in From Russia, With Love; in You Only Live Twice he is served raw quails eggs (with lobster), eggs Benedict (with Jack Daniels) and egg beaten into rice and bean curd (Fleming even tells us how proud Bond is of his ability to eat underdone fried eggs with chopsticks); and eggs Benedict in The Man With The Golden Gun.
In every other of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books there is at least one mention of scrambled eggs, although it should also be noted that is not always 007 who eats them.
In his hotel room in Casino Royale James Bond breakfasts on scrambled eggs and bacon, orange juice and coffee. However, rather than restrict the dish to breakfast, but 007 will eat the dish any time of day or night.
Later in the same book he and Vesper celebrate the defeat of Le Chiffre at the baccarat tables late in the night. Alongside the champagne, which you would probably expect in such circumstances, Bond orders scrambled eggs and bacon for them both.
In How To Write A Thriller, Fleming mentions that so frequent was Bond’s consumption of scrambled eggs in an early draft of Live And Let Die that a proof-reader pointed out to him the security risked this posed to Bond, writing that whoever was following him need only walk into a restaurant and ask, “Was there a man here eating scrambled eggs?”
Although Fleming reduced the number of times the dish is mentioned in his second book, it is still a dish James Bond enjoys frequently. The first morning after arriving in New York in Live And Let Die, Bond calls room service after he wakes to order scrambled eggs, bacon, orange juice and coffee.
And later, on the train to Florida, he and Solitaire dine on scrambled eggs and bacon with sausages (along with salad and Camembert and dry martinis). Then, after discreetly slipping off the train in the early hours in order to escape the ever watchful gaze of Mr Big, they order the dish again. At a Jacksonville diner Bond orders them both scrambled eggs, orange juice and coffee for breakfast.
Finally, after arriving in Jamaica Bond eats scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast with Blue Mountain coffee along with the tropical additions of paw-paw, red bananas, purple star-apples, tangerines and guava jelly.
After that Moonraker sees Bond modestly eat just one plate of scrambled eggs and bacon at a modest restaurant in Dover, while in Diamonds Are Forever he and Felix Leiter stop for lunch on the way to Saratoga, ordering scrambled eggs with sausages, rye toast and Miller Highlife.
Although the next book, From Russia, With Love sees no mention of the dish, i n Dr No the scrambled eggs are back. While held in the “mink lined prison” by Dr Julius No, he and Honey are provided with scrambled eggs on toast with four rashers of bacon, sausage and a grilled kidney for breakfast.
And in Goldfinger Bond orders scrambled eggs and coffee for Tilly Masterton after they are captured by the gold loving villain; having eaten already, it is inconceivable that Bond had not eaten the same.
The next book is For Your Eyes Only, a collection of five short stories in which Bond shares “a mound of fried eggs and bacon washed down with hot sweet coffee laced with rum” in Risico. Although scrambled eggs is mentioned in the first story, From A View to a Kill, Bond misses out in this book. Even the motorcycle dispatch rider debating whether to have his eggs fried or scrambled is murdered before he actually gets the chance to order breakfast.
However, in the next book, Thunderball, James Bond gratifyingly asks his Scottish housekeeper, May, to cook scrambled eggs prior to his departure for the Bahamas. He wants four eggs with four rashers of American hickory-smoked bacon and hot buttered toast, which he specifies should not be whole-meal. As well as a big pot of coffee, Bond also asks May to bring him the drinks tray. This is serious stuff.
The Spy Who Loved Me was something of an experiment for Fleming. Written from the point of view of Vivienne Michel, Bond only appears in the last third of the book. Although Bond does ask for eggs, bacon and coffee, he doesn’t actually specify scrambled.
All the same, it is likely that’s what he gets though. Bond meets Vivienne when he walks into the Dreamy Pines Motel one evening and asks her for eggs, bacon and coffee. Although he doesn’t specify how he’d like his eggs, she had already cooked scrambled eggs for herself and thugs Sluggsy and Horror and so likely Bond got the same.
In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Bond plans to ask May to cook scrambled eggs fines herbes the night before heading for Piz Gloria to accompany his vodka and tonics with Angostura. And later, having escaped from Blofeld’s mountaintop lair and meeting Tracy again, he orders scrambled eggs and coffee at Zurich airport.
The Living Daylights finds Bond cooking himself “a vast dish of scrambled eggs and bacon” with buttered toast and black coffee with whisky for breakfast while in Berlin. He is waiting to deal with a Russian sniper who has orders to shoot a defector as he crosses the border with East Berlin on one of three nights and so has time to kill.
The story is in the collection Octopussy & The Living Daylights, to which had The Property of a Lady was added for the paperback edition. As mentioned before, since 2002, Octopussy & The Living Daylights also includes 007 in New York and the recipe for Scrambled Eggs ‘James Bond’.