Thursday, January 25, 2007

Food! Food Food! Maintenant Nous Manger.

Now we eat!

Finally hit the comestible jackpot in Swann's Way. Mentions of lobster (!) and asparagus. The aunt ate creamed eggs (Yuck!) for lunch.

The gentle (and hungry) reader is then given a long list of what the family ate for the midday meal, which makes one understand why they were sleepy after the noontime feast. I am assuming that not all this food was eaten at one sitting which would be unbelievably piggy as well as hell for the cook (Francoise). I'm also curious about the preserves and biscuits (bread and jam?) that was listed as a typical lunch with eggs, cutlets, potatoes, preserves and biscuits. Don't think they were biscuits Americaine. Now I know I will have to find a more updated translation and a French copy. Merde! This is going to be work.

What else the family had for lunch: Brill (a fish), turkey (!), cardoons with marrow, leg of mutton, spinach (for a change), apricots (hard to get), gooseberries (soon gone), raspberries (from Swann's wonderful garden), cherries (the first of the season) cream cheese (beloved by Marcel), almond cake, fancy loaf (?)--bread but what kind?
The narrator's father was exceedingly fond of a cream of chocolate pudding (well, duh, who wouldn't be?) and was rather annoyed if anyone at the table refused it. Would not have been me. Nope.

Reading this scene reminded me of my grandparent's house and garden in Hesston, Kansas. We always awaited the first strawberries with excrutiating impatience. When the new potatoes were ready to eat, they were invariably served with creamed peas and the family (but not me) ooohhhed and ahhhhed over how delicious.

To everything there was a season, in the big garden, just like in Proust's Combray. I had great aunts that were as eccentric as his. In other words, I can connecting to this story as never before.

My grandma got heavy cream was a woman on the other side of town. I still remember it. Golden and so thick you spooned it out of the pint jar. I was just a little girl, but I remember. My grandmother never used a recipe, and she baked bread and made pies with her plump, deft fingers. As a young girl she was beautiful, but work and children and worry aged her before her time. That was a saying then, "before her time." One could also die before one's time. Seasons and time. Remembrance of Time Past.

I love Proust.


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