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The Bouillabaisse, Beau Rivage, James Coburn, James Bond Connection

Updated on March 23, 2013

Bouillabaisse is essentially peasant food. The most famous Bouillabaisse is made in Marseille, France. The traditional ingredients are: sea robin, scorpion fish, red gurnard, conger, monkfish, some kind of fish called Saint-Pierre, Weever (whatever that is) octopus and sea urchins. Then add to the fish concoction potatoes, garlic, onions, tomatoes, olive, fennel, saffron, country style bread, salt and Cayenne pepper. The sauce is a Rouille that contains an egg yolk garlic, olive oil, saffron and Cayenne pepper. A laborer who worked on the docks in Marseille in the 1950’s and 60’s would enjoy this hearty meal with a couple of glasses of wine. If a tourist from the good old USA eats this dish in Marseille, he or she will get indigestion.

In the United States there are many fashionable French-Mediterranean Style Restaurants named the Beau Rivage. These upscale restaurants do not serve peasant food like Bouillabaisse. However something called Bouillabaisse may be served at great expense to the customer. The American version of Bouillabaisse includes ingredients such as lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, haddock, cod, flounder and whitefish. Some less expensive versions may include bluefish and porgies. The American version of Bouillabaisse is more acceptable to the American palette.

In the 1960’s there were many parodies of the James Bond Movies starring Sean Connery. One of these films was the 1966 movie Our Man Flint, starring James Coburn. In the film, a dart almost kills Flint’s (James Coburn’s) boss. Flint (a hero not a vampire) sucks out the blood, tasting the dart’s ingredients and say’s the word “Bouillabaisse.” Flint then flies directly to Marseille to save the world.

As an adolescent in the 1960’s, Our Man Flint was very funny, cool and entertaining. I recently watched the flick on cable television. It was an uncut, commercial free version. The film is extremely dated for 2012 and today’s young viewers are probably too sophisticated to enjoy the movie.

There were many parodies of the James Bond films in the 1960’s. Even Dean Martin made a series of Matt Helm movies to cash in on the Bond films. I began reading Ian Fleming novels when I was 12 years old. The first Bond movie, From Russia with Love with Sean Connery as James Bond, followed the text of Ian Fleming’s novel very closely. I recently watched From Russia with Love on cable. This original James Bond movie holds up very well in 2012, in contrast to Our Man Flint which is a dated, silly movie. However Coburn (Flint) saying the word “Bouillabaisse” will always stick with me.

Our Man Flint

From Russia With Love


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