Today, I have been mostly considering The Bad Food Guide – and one gem of a story found therein. For those unfamiliar with one of the great tomes of British culinary history, it was authored by Derek Cooper and published in 1967 – a time when many regarded a Berni Inn steak au poivre as “exotic”. And my favourite passage concerns the family who stocked up on supermarket sliced bread before embarking on a two-week motor trip of France. If their car was not a two-tone grey Hillman Super Minx Estate, it really should have been. With “Mum and Dad” resembling Joan Sims and David Lodge.
Now, visitors to Chateau de Bois Giraud are at perfect liberty to bring Wonderloaf to the kitchen – but we imagine they would be unlikely to do so. The British holidaymaker is more adventurous than in the comparatively recent past. The new and the unfamiliar is to be embraced, rather than immediately heading to the “Benny Hill Pub” in Santa Ponsa and demanding Watney’s Red Barrell to accompany “Paella and chips”. Even a caravan trip within the UK in the 1980s could be fraught with peril as you might tune into ITV on the black & white portable set only to encounter unfamiliar announcers. A few Southampton holidaymakers said to be reduced to gibbering wrecks if deprived of Christopher Robbie or Brian Nissen.
Today, broadband has ensured that cultural artefacts from home are instantly accessible. You can watch Norman Wisdom films in the Chateau lounge or even subject yourself to the Mockney misery that is EastEnders. Yet, the internet has allowed exposed so many to fresh ideas – and a holiday is a perfect time to explore ideas that would have seemed almost impossible on the daily commute. Begone set routine – there is sunshine, long evenings and rillettes de Tours to enjoy. The latter preferably sans Wonderloaf.