Saturday, November 03, 2007

Madame Proust

I finished Madame Proust last night. Of course the ending was sad, with her sickness and death at a relatively young age and leaving the somewhat helpless Marcel, who managed to pull himself together and write his great work.

At some of the writer's groups I've been in, there have been deep discussions of how members really started to write after the death of a parent. Seems to trigger something.

Madame Proust hectored and nagged and cajoled like any mother. Proust's impossible habits--sleeping all day and up (and out) all night with total quiet required during the day would drive anyone batshit. Weird how he always showed up with overcoats and scarves even in mild weather. I know womeome else who does that but she is a frail little thing with no fat on her bones and obviously suffers from the cold. There's a lot to be said for a bit of padding. And poor Madame, walking 10 hours a day at the spa to try to lose some weight.

Is it just me or does pineapple salad with truffles sound rather. . . unappetizing? In days of yore, we sometimes at dined at Le Francais in Wheeling, Illinois, and the meal was often tres truffled but I don't believe the dessert was. Almost sounds like a Roman feast oddity. Pineapples must have been a rare treat.

My husband's father always announced he would only eat the kinds of vegetables that grew in his grandmother's garden. No new-fangled broccoli for him. Rest of family rolled their eyes, of course. I wonder what grew in Swan's garden. Monet had a great vegetable and herb garden. The recipes in the Monet cookbook are so simple that you just know the produce must have been so spectacular it stood on it's own. Meat and fish and poultry, too. Quite frankly, the chickens my grandparents raised were the best, as were the strawberries and the tomatoes. I can mimic the strawberries with organic local ones, but the tomatoes, the tart Kansas tomatoes are gone. Mine were all right this year, better than store bought, but nothing comes close to my Grandfather's. He fed them with horse manure. Maybe that was the trick.

How did we get from Madame Proust to my grandfather's garden? Not so far a jump as you would think. Madame Proust's life was a mirror into the past, and was interesting in her own right, even if her son had not written the great book. How did he do it without her? A miracle of sorts. Something to ponder.



Michael Leddy said...

Re: overcoats and scarves -- Glenn Gould too, even in summer.

If I ever find out what's up with the truffles and pineapple, I'll let you know. : )

Adfero Affero said...

small typo...."I know womeome else who"