Food is nearly always top priority for Italians. A certain delicacy may even be worth physical risk. One example is the behavior of Roman cameraman Massimo Mariani. According to the story recounted to me by CBS producer/editor Jos Mason, Massimo was in the back of a jeep headed with a CBS crew down some rough roads in Kosovo looking for Kosovo Liberation Army soldiers. Among the crew was war-hardened correspondent Allan Pizzey. At one point the crew stopped a peasant and asked if he knew where they could find some KLA soldiers. The peasant pointed them down a dirt track. They jostled down the track for awhile and into some woods. Suddenly they noticed that the track ahead had been recently dug up. Pizzey decided they would go no further. There was a chance the track could be mined. (They later learned that a group of Serb militiamen, impersonating KLA soldiers, were up the road.) They turned around and headed gingerly back up the track. Suddenly, from the back seat, Massimo let out a shout, “STOP!” He jumped out of the car and ran into the woods and dove for the ground. The others glanced around, panicking. Moments later, Massimo returned to the car with an enormous porcini mushroom in his hand, and a huge grin on his face.
“Look,” he said, eyeing his giant treasure, “I can slice it up, I can dry it out. It will make a wonderful pasta sauce.”
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