In 1970, I went back to Milan with cameraman Vittorio Della Valle to shoot a short film for another client of ours, Caravans International of Newmarket in Suffolk. The had two caravans that were going to be towed round the Monza race circuit for 24 hours by Ford cars. I always thought that the kudos belonged to the cars rather than the caravans, but they seemed to know what they were doing and, in any case, they were paying.
The trial started at 8am and we were on site by 6am filming the preparations. Once the cars left, we shots some scenes of their passing for a few laps and then followed the C.I. crew to the restaurant that had been especially opened to accommodate the forty or so people attending the event.
There was a queue and, as so often happens in Italy, we could see the cooks at work. To my horror, they were deep frying eggs and bacon in oil, then shovelling up the food dripping with the oil and unloading it on to a plate. The, mainly, English crew of C.I. were ordering this as if it was some sort of delicacy.
I was appalled, so when I got to the head of the queue, I ordered a coffee and a croissant.
A few hours later, the C.I. crew, one by one, started to go down with food poisoning. I am sure that it could not have been the deep-fried breakfast. I have always believed that it is unrewarding to eat British food prepared by a foreigner in foreign lands. I believe that, when in foreign parts, one should eat their food. After all, they have come to no harm in thousands of years eating their food, why should I ? This is not jingoism. I imagine that any Frenchman would rather eat a Bouillabaisse in Marseilles than anywhere else.
In the early 70s, I went on three more Monte and Safari Rallies, taking every opportunity to sample local food and drink.
Next chapter: Chapter 57: La Daube de Boeuf Provencale