Saturday, 12 May 2012

A dish for James Bond

As a foodie and keen amateur chef, I have quite a few cookbooks at home. I was sorting my library  and rediscovered a booklet of recipes that came with Tex's range of seasonings, which, according to the brand's website, provide a 'taste of the Caribbean.' One of the recipes caught my eye: 007's Jamaican Curry Mutton.

You can find the recipe on Tex's website. The method is very simple. Cut the mutton into cubes, rub in Tex's Jamaican Style Curry Powder and Tex's Tropical Multi-Purpose Seasoning, and leave to marinate for an hour. Then, fry some onion and garlic, add the mutton and other ingredients (red pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce), and stir. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low, and let the curry simmer until the mutton is cooked.

Curried mutton – actually goat in Jamaica – isn't an obvious dish to be associated with James Bond. He eats a shrimp curry during dinner with Goldfinger, but in Jamaica he dines on fish, eggs and vegetables (Live and Let Die, chapter 17), sucking pig and avocado salad (LALD, chapter 23), lamb cutlets (Dr No, chapter 16), and a roast chicken and more fish (The Man with the Golden Gun, chapter 10).

But Ian Fleming is likely to have eaten curried goat during his stays at Goldeneye, and perhaps often. Noël Coward recalls that when he rented the house for a time (at the rate of £50 per week), his meals gradually changed from sumptuous dinners to a diet of salt fish and ackee or curried goat. Presumably the cook was Fleming's cook, and if curried goat was a staple meal for Coward, then it probably was for Fleming as well. That said, the letters of Ann Fleming give the impression that the Flemings survived solely on lobster, which Ian Fleming caught in the bay by the house.

Returning to 007's Jamaican Curry Mutton, it seems that the association between James Bond and Jamaica is still strong, 50 years after Dr No was released, and 48 years after Ian Fleming's death. The memes that associate Bond with Jamaica are perpetuated in ways that go beyond the books and the films, being expressed in, for example, songs (such as '007 Shanty Town' by Desmond Dekker), airport names (Ian Fleming International Airport, formerly Boscobel Aerodrome), and, as we have now seen, recipes.

Reference:

Amory, M, 1985 The letters of Ann Fleming, Collins Harvill, London

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