I came across this article “James Bond and the Art of Eating Eggs” in a back issue of Gastronomica magazine (winter 2012). Quite an in depth article at 7 pages long which examined the symbolism between James Bond and eggs….too complicated to summarize in a blog post, so check out the article. Ian Flemming, the creator of James Bond, apparently enjoyed eating scrambled eggs daily and so quite naturally eggs cooked in various ways appeared in all 12 of the James Bond novels. In England eggs were rationed from 1940 – 1953 ( 13 years! ) the period that Ian Flemming was writing the first Bond novel. During that time each adult was rationed 1 egg per week. Eggs were items to be savored and a dish of humble scrambled eggs with a hefty dose of butter (also heavily rationed) served with pink champagne must have seemed a great luxury and extravagance to readers at the time.
The picture above shows the rations for 1 person for 1 week. I’m deeply suspicious of the “National Butter” and even more suspicious of the “Special Margarine”. It makes me value eggs more when I realize that they weren’t always readily available. We now have grocery shelves stacked high with all manner of eggs from the standard to omega, free range, higher welfare, organic, organic free range, grain fed, you name it to choose between. Eggs are familiar items, easy to cook and eat and yet highly individualistic in how each person likes their eggs cooked. Ask any group of people how they like their eggs and you will get different answers.
The article also kindly reproduced the recipe for scrambled eggs as per the short story 007 in New York in which James Bond instructs others how to prepare scrambled eggs for four “individualists”. Below is the recipe: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 4 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 the 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.
This method of preparing scrambled eggs will give you a soft scramble that is rich and creamy, and luxurious. Much improved from the diner style that you most commonly see in which eggs are stirred around over high heat in a non-stick frying pan and end up leathery and weepy. I tried the James Bond method one time and it took about 20 or 30 minutes to prepare. I did a bit of research and settled on the Gordon Ramsay method (professional style) which used a medium heat to cook over which vastly expedited the dish. It will still give you a lovely uniformly soft scrambled egg. You simple break whole eggs into a heavy saucepan and add a lump of butter and constantly stir over medium heat with a rubber spatula, moving the pot on and off the heat periodically in order to equalize the temperature of the eggs. When the eggs are 80% cooked, remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, creme fraiche or cream, and chives.
For my eggs I seasoned with truffle salt, chives, and served over smoked salmon on toast. I forgot the Taittinger this time, but a lovely mimosa or strong black coffee would also be appropriate. Eggs are readily available in all types and specifications, be sure to use good quality fresh eggs.