2014, CreateSpace, 128 pages. (Review posted 9 August 2015.)
Perhaps not second to none, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s not too far off! Credit where credit is due: this is a truly exhaustive overview of Bond’s cuisine, which spans the Fleming novels, the official spin-off novels, and the films. ANY type of culinary reference is captured by Matt Sherman’s sharp eye – and then is often embellished by his very dry wit – and this includes food or drink-oriented product placement and/or any sort of unintended devouring that has occurred in the series (e.g. Die Another Day at 46 minutes and 8 seconds: “Bond spits out water from a fire sprinkler that douses him”).
Thus, the level of research detail is hugely impressive – and the breadth of detail is also where a great deal of humour is mined: James Bond’s Cuisine manages to traverse that seemingly contradictory line of serious scholarship delivered with the enjoyably relaxed and accessible quality of a “coffee table” book.
Furthermore, you come away from the text with a firmer-than-firm sense of the place of cuisine in the highly sumptuous Bondian atmosphere – and the book manages to genuinely surprise one in its highlighting of the sheer extent of references to food and drink, and munching and consuming, found within the series. Mr Sherman also includes some practical indexes such as “signature meal cuisines” and “real world Bond eateries”.
Admittedly, I’m not really a “foodist”. The principal attraction in purchasing this book was based on my enjoyment of Mr Sherman’s knowledgeable and personable presence within James Bond fan communities. I can certainly see, however, that a by-product of a great interest in James Bond is that one is served a strong knowledge base in culinary pursuits. I feel well equipped to wing it through dinner party conversation.
Furthermore, I found that this book – in the process of pinpointing all the culinary references – kept reminding me of all the engrossing Bondian moments and scenarios I have enjoyed over the years. That constitutes a bonus in what is a tremendous reference work.
Last but not least, I particularly liked the capsule summaries for each and every Bond novel and film, where references to mastication have been employed to describe the central conspiracies and action. To wit, 1984’s Role of Honour (“Ending superpower supremacy will devour the economy unless James Bond crashes S.P.E.C.T.R.E.’s flight of fancy”), 1960’s The Spy who Loved Me (“James Bond sustains a woman after other men wolf down her vulnerability”), and 1974’s film version of The Man with the Golden Gun (“An assassin with a penchant for Cordon Bleu cooking creates crises for James Bond”).
To be enjoyed and admired!