It’s not often that we’re invited into James Bond’s home and it’s even rarer that we’re able to have a look round his kitchen. Live and Let Die (1973) provides one such opportunity. What does the kitchen in that film tell us about the spy who lives there?
The focus of the kitchen scene is, of course, the space-age coffee machine, apparently a ‘La Pavoni Europiccola‘. Today, espresso machines can be found in almost every home, but in 1973, such machines were a rare luxury. That doesn’t stop Bond from being rather sloppy with M’s drink, mind; Bond hands M a cup with a pool of coffee in the saucer.
What else can we see in the kitchen? On the side, next to some bottles of wine and Champagne, there’s another gadget that, at the time, would have been state-of-the-art. I would love to say that it’s a toasted sandwich maker, but it’s more likely to be a waffle maker (manufactured by Moulinex?).
Along the back wall (from our point of view) we can see a fridge freezer and what looks like jars of biscuits or sugar or something like that on top. Next to the fridge on the worktop is a collection of rather nice copper kitchen ware. I can make out a serving plate or tray, a food warmer, a coffee-pot, and that mainstay of 1970s’ dinner parties, a fondue set.
The copper theme continues opposite with the extractor fan (or range hood) above the hob and oven, and we can just about see a large copper saucepan. On the other side of the coffee machine, there is a small dining table set for two, complete with two sets of glasses and salt- and pepper-pots.
What appears to be missing is food, but it’s not entirely absent. There is a pineapple and some bananas – a foreshadowing of Bond’s Caribbean adventure? – next to the coffee machine and what looks like wooden boxes next to the copper ware that may contain eggs or vegetables. And presumably the fridge contains something of sustenance.
This is a spacious, shiny, underused kitchen that would be the pride of any kitchen showroom. It’s a kitchen designed for intimate evenings with beautiful Italian agents and small, sophisticated gatherings where Bond can show off his latest gadgets. It’s certainly not a place for serious, everyday cooking. Apart from waffles and fondue (hardly staple items), the best that Bond might be able to manage is scrambled eggs cooked in the copper pan (incidentally, Ian Fleming recommends a copper pan in his scrambled eggs recipe in ‘007 in New York’), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the fridge contained some cold cuts of meat or other items that wouldn’t take much preparation.
The kitchen is built for someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time in it, but nevertheless desires the best equipment going. It is, in short, the perfect kitchen for spies like James Bond.