Almost a decade ago, I had another food blog, The Madeleines Project. Don’t look for it, it was taken down after a few years of inactivity, but I did have the foresight to both make an archive of the posts AND self-publish a book for family and friends.
Now that I have taken up blogging again, I find myself sometimes wanting to refer to an old post. So in the spirit of ‘Throwback Thursdays’ on a famous social media site, here is Madeleine Mondays.
The Madeleine in this instance is a cake, a small shell-shaped French cake eaten at tea-time or ‘Quatre heures’ when children come home from school (I don’t know if French children still come home from school at 4 pm, but bear with me).
In my case, I used to eat them with my grand-father on road trips. And road-trips since then are incomplete without them (except of course I now need a gluten-free version)
So is this a book about tea cakes? No, far from it. The Madeleine in the title is someone else’s: Marcel Proust’s, to be precise. And they are in plural. In ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’, the main character experiences reliving childhood memories, by biting into a madeleine cake: “And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of lime-flower tea“.
And this is where the ‘project’ part comes into play: my ambition was to take the reader on a trip down my very own sensory and gastronomical memory lane. Around every twist and turn. And dead end. Up the hill to gaze over yet another forgotten landscape. Round the bend for a new surprise, unearthed as I was looking for something else entirely. Will you join me? Still not sure? I guess you want to know where we are going… Well, I’m afraid I simply cannot say. We will go to exotic and far-away countries, as that is where I have lived. But our trip will also take us to colder climes and maybe even to countries I have yet to visit. I think it sounds exciting! Still not enough to entice you? You want hard facts…
Let me see… It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg, I think. I will probably start with one dish, tell you of what it reminds me, and try to recreate the exact taste. Most probably with some help from friends and family, if they happen to be the owners of the recipe. If not, I will have to put my trust in my taste buds and my culinary skills. And Google. And my mum. One recipe might trigger more taste memories, or I’ll have to wait (and you along with me) until the next epiphany. I’ll give it a try, and I really think you should too. Who knows, you might even pick up a tasty recipe along the way…