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How food shapes fiction

March 3, 2012

More in my ongoing interest in food… This article gives a pretty good glimpse of how food shapes fiction and its readers… Edward Biddulph writes:

Food is as much a part of the James Bond books as travel, champagne and cocktails, beautiful women, villains and violence. Ian Fleming introduced his early 1950s’ readers to a menu that few could consume on a regular basis. This was an England emerging from a prolonged period of rationing and deprivation. Avocados were an exotic treat and star-fruit unheard of; lobsters came in tins and lamb chops were grilled to a crisp and drowned in gravy. Bond’s food was almost as unattainable as his women and, on occasion, as suspicious-sounding as the villains. But Fleming did not mean to deliberately taunt his readers with these culinary wonders; if anything, given the backdrop of economic meltdown in Europe, end of Empire, Soviet expansion and American hegemony, it was his patriotic duty to describe them. Bond, proxy for the British people, was part of a gentle fantasy placing Britain back on the world’s top table.” (p.132)

Ref: Edward Biddulph (2009) ‘Bond was not a gourmet: an archaeology of James Bond’s diet’ Food, Culture & Society 12(2) June: 131-149

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