Dara Goulet and Adam Stephenson are my kind of Bond fans: delightfully obsessive but not at all precious, clear-eyed about the highs and lows of our favorite franchise and - most importantly - not above having some fun with it.
But unlike most of us, they’ve found a way to make even the lesser Bond entries more than palatable: they devised #24WeeksOfBond, a viewing/cooking/Instagram project that had them eating their way through the entire James Bond catalog over the course of six months.
As they made their way through each 007 adventure, Dara (a longtime Birth.Movies.Death. commenter) and her fiancé Adam researched and cooked up dishes based on the countries in which the film was either set or filmed. For example: the Jamaica-set Dr. No is paired with jerk chicken, while New Orleans cuisine accompanies Live And Let Die. What a brilliant idea! The Living Daylights? Austrian schnitzel and crepes! A View To A Kill? An obscure San Francisco dish called The Hangtown Fry! And so on.
Each meal was accompanied by a chalk drawing, title screen, and description (of both film and food), presented once a week on Dara’s Instagram account. Sometimes the exotic meals exceeded the couple’s expectations; sometimes, like the films that inspired them, the cooking experiments left a little to be desired. Dara’s honesty about the merits and shortcomings of both the movies and the food captured my heart, and made it a fun project to follow from week to week. I even caught myself getting antsy when an entry was a couple days late. (And yes, I cheered when the non-canonical Never Say Never Again got its own entry.)
When Dara and Adam's project ended (with Spectre, on July 5th), I got a message from BMD Senior Editor Evan Saathoff telling me he was sad it was over. I was too! He then pointed out that the project was such a fun, non-toxic display of fandom, that it might be fun to share here. Evan correctly posited that the world could use a little more of what Dara and Adam are putting down (“Since usually everyone’s so horrible!”). It’s a hard point to argue; people are quite often terrible and each new day presents more evidence of it.
So in the interest of shining a light on things in fandom that aren’t horrible, presented below with the permission of its creators is a sampling of #24weeksofBond. (I’m told that if you ask Dara nicely, she might share the recipes with you.) Do check out the entire project; I’m pasting part of her final caption here, as I found it rather touching:
These past six months have been so much fun. I have looked forward to every Thursday night and now have many new favourite recipes that I would have never even glanced at, let alone create in the kitchen.
There have been dizzying highs (On Her Majesty's Secret Service, From Russia With Love) and there have been disturbing lows (Connery's entire Japanese undercover experience in You Only Live Twice, 85% of Roger Moore [sort of joking, but sort of not joking]), but it all has been an absolute blast.
James Bond meant a lot to me growing up. It is something that my dad and I share together and I have fond memories of watching our Bond VHS' taped from TBS TV marathons.
Having spent the last 24 (*ahem* 25 - I see you sulking over there Never Say Never Again) weeks visiting the man and the myth that is James Bond I can say that there really is no other film character that can be so many things at once. He is Craig's brooding bulldozer and at the same time he is Lazenby's ready to settle down Bond. He has been to space, worn a "Third Nipple" disguise and fenced with Madonna. He is man that forces you to want to be him, which gets pretty murky when it comes to the pretty awful treatment of women (now I'm looking at you, Goldfinger). If anything,#24weeksofBond has solidified 3 major things for me:
• I love movies (watching them, analyzing them, talking about them)
• I love cooking (researching meals, prepping meals, eating meals)
• I love @kingeasy (hanging out with him, cooking with him, everything about him)
Now: what to do next?
Sound off below - what other franchises could/should get this treatment?
Far up! Far out! FAR MORE! #24weeksofBond is back with On Her Majesty's Secret Service! We did the Swiss Alps up right with a traditional Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (veal, wine and mushrooms in cream sauce) and an amazing cheese rosti (big hashbrown!). Adam topped it off with a deadly Swiss chocolate roll. Pair that with the sweetness of Dame Diana Rigg as the Contessa and it made a perfect evening. #onhermajestyssecretservice 02/11/16
Nobody does it better! #24weeksofBond is here yet again with our 10th entry: The Spy Who Loved Me. We went all out Egyptian with Koshari (rice, lentils and macaroni with spicy tomato chile sauce) which is Egypt's national dish! For dessert we made Oum Ali which is like a variation on bread pudding. #thespywholovedme #koshari #oumali 03/10/16
His bad side is a dangerous place to be! It's a Thursday and time for #24weeksofBond! We finished up Timothy Dalton's second and final Bond with License to Kill. The movie starts with a wedding in Mexico, and most of the film was shot there so we tried our hands at some Mexican meals! For the main dish we prepared some Chicken Chimichangas and for the side we grilled up some Mexican Corn on the Cob! #licensetokill #chimichanga #farewelltothetdalts 04/28/16
As the countdown begins for the new millennium there is still one number you can count on! And with that goofy tagline we are back with #24weeksofBond with The World is Not Enough! This week took us to the highs of Spain and the lows of improper nuclear scientist casting! For the main meal we did a Seafood Paella and @kingeasy and I discovered that we do not like muscles! For dessert we did a traditional Creme Brûlée that was about 140% of our daily fat intake. #theworldisnotenough #paella #cremebrulee #robertcarlylesweirdeye 05/19/16
The pawn. The con. The Bond. It's a surprise Monday night edition of #24weeksofBond! Just like Daniel Craig's muscular body ramming through drywall, we decimated some delicious meals. Our main meal was from The Czech Republic: Chicken Paprikash (also what Vision makes for Scarlet Witch in Civil War!). On the side we had Fried Green Zucchini and for dessert, we repped Italy with some deadly Double Chocolate Biscotti. I honestly cannot believe we are into the last Bond. My memory has the last three movies falling into the "buuuh" zone, but now that we have weeks and weeks of Bond under our belt, I am looking forward to approaching them with new eyes! #casinoroyale #chickenpaprikash #doublechocolatebiscotti #alleyesondancraigsbluespeedo 06/02/16