The 39 Steps | John Buchan (Food Reference List)

I devoured several books while travelling, including John Buchan’s The 39 Steps, always paying attention to whatever food and drinks were mentioned. Published in 1915, The 39 Steps was later made into an Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. The story is based around an assassination plot. After being revealed to Richard Hannay, the American who has exposed the assassination to Hassay is murdered, and Hassay finds himself on the run. With a notebook filled with encryptions, Hannay must keep one step ahead of the conspirators, while trying to stop the assassination.


Beverages mentioned in The 39 Steps

whiskey and soda




grog: A drink made of water or a weak beer, and rum

cold tea



bowl of milk with a dash of whiskey



Burgundy (wine)


“…very soon she set before me a hearty meal of ham and eggs, scones, and thick sweet milk.”


Food mentioned in The 39 Steps



savoury roast


cold ham


thick slabs of scone


ginger biscuits

“There were Paddock’s crisp sausages and fragrant shavings of bacon, and shapely poached eggs–how often I had turned up my nose at them!”

porterhouse steak

Welsh rabbit: Toasted bread with a savoury melted cheese sauce poured over it

bacon and eggs

cold pie

oatcake and cheese

muffins and marmalade


Read The Thirty-Nine Steps on Amazon for free (affiliate link)

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One Comment

  1. It’s my 39th birthday next month and I’m hosting a 39 Steps themed party! Would greatly welcome your advice on a dinner menu please!

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