March 08, 2013

Forget Swann, remember the Madeleines.

Perhaps one of the most delicious reading passages can be found in Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way.  His remembrance of eating a Madeleine. A glimpse of a pleasure he can't identify. 

…“I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses”…

“Tea and Madeleine” & “Aunt Leonie's Sofa” by David Richardson

But Messieurs Proust and Swann not only found their pleasures in eating Madeleines. For the French had a bit of well established joy that was wedged between the responsibilities of work and the duties of family called five-to-seven (le cinq á sept). A little bit of lost time in the early evening hours.  Alas, that bit of five-to-seven frivolity was severely shattered when a character in Françoise Sagan's 1967 novel La Chamade sighed-

“…In Paris, no one makes love in the evening any more; everyone is too tired…”

According to La Sagan it all had changed. Tant pis.

That little bit of pleasure should be revived.  I'm not advocating anything untoward-as you read everyone is too tired-but I wonder if five-to-seven could be reinstated to mean a bit of stolen time.  

How much more agreeable you might be if you inserted a little five-to-seven into your day?  

Switching off, as far as the I-(know everything) phone knows, you could be lost in a dead zone.  Perhaps a drink, or tea and Madeleines, and the company of an interesting friend? Don't take friend as a euphemism five-to-seven is most fun if the agenda is uncomplicated.  

Of course every secret pleasure is heightened if it has a taste of the forbidden so it gives me great joy to know that the I-(know everything) phone thinks I’m stuck in a dreaded mobile dead zone...when all along I’ll be roaming blissfully and having un doux petit rêveur

À bientôt.


Charles said...

When Marcel Proust dipped his madeleine into a cup of tea, a work of literature emerged. When I dip my madeleine into a cup of tea a soggy mess emerges. Just shows you how food and memory are linked.
Love the post and the images;-)

Mona said...

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~Marcel Proust

Anja said...

The new hours for love in the afternoon are 2 to I been told ;-)

asterix said...

Mais je viens de me marier, alors qui sait ce qui va se passer dans vingt ans.

Love the post!

frenchtoast said...

Tante Leonie … rest in peace; bakers rule the world.

Syl v O said...

Post and images, delightful.

Alistair (from the land of Calvin, sulphur and butanol) said...

Fine post, and link. Can’t wait for the book!