Memories come in all shapes and tastes. As small shell-shaped cakes, as music, as a smell in mid-air on a warm summer afternoon. Calling Madeleines “cookies” would be a disservice not only to these unique creations but also to the American public that mostly draws its memories from Oreos, which are not as good as their name “Poli Oreo” may imply, or those oversized, shapeless, and overly sweet affairs called “freshly made chocolate chip cookies” that better bear no memory value (but they do of course) – as they would be disappointed. The large coffe chain with the Mermaid has solved the problem by adding large amounts of sugar and even chocolate coverture to make the Madeleines desirable. Sweeten your memories.
I recently discussed the topic with a friend and this resulted in an evening of Proust – despite the fact that the first volume was nowhere to be found in the whole house. Her house is a perfect place to read Proust – with very strong tea, the kind preferred by old cultures with a tradition, some Madeleines and the promise of home-made Madeleines – soon. The complete text of the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, par Jean-Yves Tadié is available online and in a new bilingual version with the C. K. Scott Moncrieff translation. There is even an audio version of Albertine disparue: “Le départ et la mort d’Albertine, racontés par une jeune fille qui pourrait avoir son âge. Idéal pour écouter l’été au soleil, dans le jardin, sur la plage, au lit…” listen or download.