For ten years I had wondered what a madeleine would taste like.
I knew that they were like cakes
I knew that they were like biscuits.
I also knew that they were supposed to be dipped in tea
and that Proust adored them.
Pretty shell shaped sponges; they
reveal hints of honey, lemon and butter
and fail to trigger memories.
I am a madeleine virgin. And I am searching for lost tastes.
How does one describe bread made with butter and eggs?
One mistakes it for a cake.
If you happen to be a French philosopher called
Rousseau, you crave it with wine and
write all about it in your autobiography.
Revolutionaries read Confessions (1769), and presume the “great princess”—who advises those who have no bread to instead eat brioche—to be the last Queen of France.
The hairdresser of Marie-Antoinette powders her extravagant bouffant with wheat flour.
The flour is supposed to add volume to the hair, in the same way proofing the dough makes it more capacious before baking it.
The people of Paris are starving. An
uprising known as “The Flour War” begins.
I make a Croque Monsieur out of brioche. I do not treat it like a cake.