Recently, I 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 Jamaican Curry Mutton.
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 (more usually goat in Jamaica) would be a new experience for James Bond. During his Jamaican adventures, Bond eats suckling pig, fish, lobster, tropical fruit, avocado salad, lamb cutlets and a roast chicken, among other dishes, but never, it seems, curried mutton. However, one person who did eat curried mutton was Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming.
Ian Fleming said that he hadn’t come to the tropics to eat beef roll. Consequently, much of the food he ate during his stays at his Jamaican retreat, Goldeneye, was of local origin. Violet, Ian Fleming’s cook and housekeeper at the house, told Fleming’s biographer John Pearson that ‘the Commander’ loved shrimps, all sorts of fish, black crab soup, lobsters and guavas and stewed goat. Ann Fleming noted that the national dish was curried goat and suckling pig, and no doubt both dishes found a regular place at the table at Goldeneye.
The Jamaican diet failed to impress visitors to Goldeneye, though. Fleming’s friend Robert Harling records disastrous meals of ackee and salt fish and calah soup, while Noël Coward recalls that when he rented the house for a time, his meals gradually changed from sumptuous dinners to a diet of salt fish and ackee or curried goat; Coward also remarked that stewed guavas served at Goldeneye tasted like armpits.
While James Bond isn’t necessarily a purist when it comes to dining in Jamaica, the food of the island – for example guavas and coconut cream, ackee and salt fish, suckling pig, broiled lobster – found its way into the Bond books, reflecting Ian Fleming’s own tastes and his determination while at Goldeneye to ‘eat local’, or, as Robert Harling put it, ‘fight against’ English food.
On that basis, Jamaican Curry Mutton seems like the ideal dish for James Bond.