Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


IT WAS 60 YEARS AGO that Henry N. Manney III entertained us in R&T, June and July 1962, with “A Gustative View of Europe. Here’s Part 3 of tidbits gleaned from those articles.

Spain and Portugal. Henry noted, “The cooking is better than you would think but the mealtimes are odd, being much later than is really necessary. However, there is a well-developed trade in snacks (shrimp and suchlike) which will tide you over.” 

He didn’t mention the name “tapas,” but I’ve enjoyed them in places as far ranging as Cascais, Madrid, and Tokyo.

France. “I have talked to quite a few people,” Henry said, “who don’t like French cooking. Too many fancy sauces hiding God-knows-what, they say, and the meat’s always underdone, and everything smells of garlic and those cheeses are like somebody’s old socks and meals always go on for so long and I always get indigestion. And snails!!” 

“They may be right,” Henry admitted, “There are people driving Ferraris who would be far better off in Chevrolets….” 

This and the following image from Henry Manney At Large & Abroad.

Michelin Guides. Henry said, “It is essential, I think, to have the restaurant and hotel guide put out by the Michelin tire people. (No, my Alfa doesn’t have Michelins.) This guide gives a lot of extraneous information, including quiet hotels, where to get a specially good meal for a buck fifty, opening and closing of mountain passes,… and what pressure to blow your (M……n) tires up to.”

Henry expanded, “It also lists restaurants on four basic categories. First, and largest, is simply a recommendation that it is fit to eat in; this is followed by gradations of one, two, or three stars which mean ‘good meals in its class,’ ‘worth a detour,’ and ‘formidable.’ There are only ten of the latter. Michelin also, by the awarding of crossed knives and forks, indicates the fanciness of the service [and the bill….] Obviously what you want are three stars and one fork, right? There aren’t any.”  

The Charm Of It All.  Henry concluded his” Gustative View of Europe” with a word picture sketched out here: “There is bound to be a small hotel around here, boasting only local fame, where M. le Patron presides over his coal stove and copper skillets in the kitchen. His nose is red, as it should be, the bottles have no labels, and the resident dog or cat spends most of its time sleeping in the vine-shaded courtyard below your window.” 

“It’s almost suppertime,” Henry said. “The ground floor front is two rooms. One is the bar… with numerous sacklike types in berets propping up the bar. They all look. You smile and say bon appetit or even drop dead and they all smile too. Their noses are red too.”

Henry continued, “Madame la Patronne, who would give Hoss Cartwright to think any day, also smiles (see above) and indicates that the dining room is next door.” 

“The strikingly good looking daughter of the family gives you the eye as she places the bread and tools on the table…. She may want to go to Paris or then may just be amiable. But you remember Mama.”

“About this time,” Henry said, “M. le Patron advances from the kitchen in a coat which was white yesterday. The dog/cat follows at a respectful distance. Chef is smoking a Gauloise. Filter, naturally—he is a man of the age.”

Bon Soir he says, scattering ashes down his front. Is it that M’sieu would like to try the speciality of the house? A bit of pate before, perhaps, and the bottle of the patron is very good?”

“It’s a good life,” Henry said. And I quite agree. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022 


  1. Andrew G.
    October 9, 2022

    He was such a great journalist.

    One of my favorite Road & Track pieces (mid-70’s?) was a glossary of “Manneymania”; a compiled list of HNM-isms. I still remember many of these terms, such as flfc, or “funny little foreign car” — the whole reason for reading R&T.

  2. Mark W
    October 10, 2022

    Aye. As with many such things, they don’t make them like that anymore.

  3. philinmpls
    October 10, 2022

    Unfortunately, Manney was one of a kind. 💔 ❤️ 😎

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