Archive for Marcel Proust
November 18. The Anniversary of Marcel Proust’s death day in 1922. In Honor of Remembrance of Things Past, here are two madeleine recipes:
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
5 T. butter, melted & cooled slightly
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
Grated zest of ½ lemon
¼ t. vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk or blend the eggs and sugar until frothy. Add the cooled melted butter, blending well. On low speed or with the whisk, add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and vanilla until blended. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside to rest for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375*. Butter and flour the madeleine molds. Whisk the batter for a moment to remix, then spoon the batter lightly into the molds, filling them three-quarters full. Bake until the cakes are risen and golden, 10 or 11 minutes. If the madeleines start to brown before the crown has risen, open the oven door slightly and continue to bake until they have risen.
As soon as the madeleines are done, carefully remove them from the tins onto a wire rack. Serve immediately. The madeleines can also be cooled on a rack and stored for several days in an airtight container.
Makes about 15 madeleines (25 minis).
From Paris Boulangerie Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries, page 74
½ cup sugar
¼ t. vanilla
6 T. butter, melted & slightly cooled
3/8 cup of flour (the mark just above 1/3)
¼ cup cocoa
- Melt the butter & allow to cool slightly.
- Whisk eggs & sugar until thick & lemon-colored. Add the vanilla & salt.
- Fold in the flour & cocoa, then the melted butter.
- Allow the batter to rest for 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 425*.
- Butter the madeleine pans then spoon in the batter to 3/4ths full.
- Bake the madeleines about 7-9 minutes; immediately turn out of molds onto cooling racks.
“And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings, 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 real or of lime-flower tea…And as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in the decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me, immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set…and with the house the town….the streets along which I used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was fine…the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, from my cup of tea.”
(Adapted from Swann’s Way, In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust)
Click on over to my Madeleine Moments blog and read about the 100th anniversary of Marcel Proust’s first novel, the 6th year anniversary of my blog, and leave a comment to possibly win prizes, including a signed copy of my novel, Parisian by Heart, which features Marcel Proust himself.
To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment here, or on the Madeleine Moments blog, or like my Parisian by Heart Facebook page. Contest ends Feb. 18th, 2013.
(Now that the contest is over, find the winners here.)
From Time Regained, by Marcel Proust, who died on November 18th, 1922.
“The idea of Time was of value to me for yet another reason: it was a spur, it told me that it was time to begin if I wished to attain to what I had sometimes perceived in the course of my life, in brief lightning-flashes, on the Guermantes way and in my drives in the carriage of Mme. de Villeparisis, at those moments of perception which had made me think that life was worth living. How much more worth living did it appear to me now, now that I seemed to see that this life that we live in half-darkness can be illumined, this life that at every moment we distort can be restored to its true pristine shape, that a life, in short, can be realised within the confines of a book! How happy would he be, I thought, the man who had the power to write such a book! What a task awaited him! To give some idea of this task one would have to borrow comparisons from the loftiest and the most varied arts; for this writer- who, moreover, to indicate the mass, the solidity of each one of his characters must find means to display that character’s most opposite facets- would have to prepare his book with meticulous care, perpetually regrouping his forces like a general conducting an offensive, and he would have also to endure his book like a form of fatigue, to accept it like a discipline, build it up like a church, follow it like a medical regime, vanquish it like an obstacle, win it like a friendship, cosset it like a little child, create it like a new world without neglecting those mysteries whose explanation is to be found probably only within worlds other than our own and the presentiment of which is the thing that moves us most deeply in life and in art. In long books of this kind there are parts which there has been time only to sketch, parts which, because of the very amplitude of the architect’s plan, will no doubt never be completed. How many great cathedrals remain unfinished! The writer feeds his book, he strengthens the parts of it which are weak, he protects it, but afterwards it is the book that grows, that designates its author’s tomb and defends it against the world’s clamour and for awhile against oblivion.”
From the French Pleiade edition translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, First Vintage Books Edition, September 1982
“I do not know how to distinguish between our waking life and a dream. Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?”
Henry David Thoreau
“From her home on an island in North Carolina, a mysterious longing for Paris, France, leads a budding writer into the world of her dreams and imagination – or so she believes. Her guides and companions on this trip include two writers and an artist who drew so vividly from their lives and imaginations that the world cannot forget their visions. They share stories and memories of times together, and the discovery that their lives are intertwined in unexpected ways. The writers are Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens, and the artist is the tortured and driven Vincent van Gogh.
The story begins in our traveler’s home, within her familiar surroundings, but as the tale unfolds the line between the real world and the realm of dreams ultimately disappears. She finds herself in very different places across the ocean with very different people. She converses with Marcel Proust at his favorite meeting place, the Hotel Ritz inParis. She shares a meal with Vincent van Gogh and watches while he paints in the Arlesian sun.
And she meets with a writer by the name of Charles Dickens who gives her a manuscript in which a woman finds herself humbly serving the needs of a group of well-positioned elderly ladies who have gotten together at a remote guest house to play bridge when they know the night will bring a full moon rising over the water. Before they are finished they have a very unexpected visitor with the strange name of Samael. He knows things about them and offers to make a bargain.
Our lives are marked by our memories, written or unwritten, but which lives and what memories? PARISIAN BY HEART tells the story of one personal journey of discovery and revelation.”
The above (except for the Thoreau quote) is the “pitch” I wrote for my book as its entry into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The book made it into the quarter-final round, but sadly, no further. If the above pitch piques your interest, and you’d like to read more, it is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Parisian-Heart-Mari-Mann/dp/1453679553/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314284764&sr=1-1 and you can ask for it at bookstores as well. Kindle edition available here. Merci, mon amis, et merci beaucoup, Marcel.
The first- line contest has ended and I hope everyone who visited during these past few days, and those who entered, had as much fun giving their brain a work-out as I did coming up with this. Our winner, Surrealist Gesture (read his blog here), was first with all the correct titles and authors. The second entry, from Steve Posin (his entry is in the comments section of this post), also had all of the answers correct. (I would have accepted either A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Remembrance of Things Past, In Search of Lost Time or Swann’s Way for the Proust quote. Trust Marcel to make things complicated.) The third entry, from Quinn McDonald, had a couple of answers wrong but she made her entry interesting to read with her remembrances and remarks on the books.
And now, on to the challenge. No, this challenge doesn’t have a goofy acronym like NaNoWriMo (if you are thinking “whut?” like I did the first time I saw this, google it). I’ve seen these GoAcs (goofy acronyms) for everything from comitting to writing every day for a month to doing yoga every day to committing to thinking every day (just kidding on that last one). On second thought, why buck a trend? Let’s have a GoAc for this challenge:
It’s the Read Every Book in This Contest Challenge! I give you one year. The Prize? There isn’t anything I could give you that would be of greater worth than what reading these authors will give you.