Food in American Detective Stories. Dashiell Hammett.


Film poster from Wikipedia

Image from the book cover archive


image from Wikipedia

MaltesefalconImage from coverbrowsers

maltese Image from the bookcover archive

Not a lot of culinary experiences in Dashiell Hammett’s stories. A lot of Rye Whisky, Scotch and Cigarettes.

However in “The Maltese Falcon”

Spade says to the girl “I think it would be swell if you’d see what you can find us to eat in the kitchen, with plenty of coffee.”

“Surely ” she said.

“Briget O’Shaughnessy came in carrying a tray.The girl, Gutman and Spade ate the scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and marmelade she had prepared  and drank two cups of coffee a piece.”

Recipe for The Best Scrambled Eggs.

For 4

8 eggs preferably free range, unsalted butter 40gs, cut in small pieces, salt and pepper.

In a heatproof bowl (stainless steel) lightly beat the eggs with salt and pepper, add the butter in small pieces, mixing through the eggs. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on medium heat. ( Bain Marie)

Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Stir until the mixture becomes creamy. Cooking time about 5 to 6 minutes. At the end of cooking add a few knobs of butter, it will be creamier. You can add herbs, parsley, chives, tarragon. I have added lightly cooked asparagus tips as they are in season.

Trouble shooting.

Don’t use a whisk, a wooden spoon is best.

Watch cooking time.

Don’t cook directly over the heat

scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs

One thought on “Food in American Detective Stories. Dashiell Hammett.

  1. As my Japanese friend Jun might comment: yam! ( yum) and although he may not qualify as a mystery writer per se, Haruki Murakami has wonderful and copious food references. I suppose as a contribution from USA , scrambled eggs is a pretty good one. Sue, that recipe looks great. Americans would over cook them

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