We all have a Proustian Madeleine, that moment when you taste something that takes your mind instantly to your happy place. We are celebrating the 100th of French Entrée magazine with a collection of the top 100 all-time favorite super-duper French inspired recipes…chosen by our readers. What’s yours? Bouillabaisse in Marseille? Tartiflette in Besançon? Coq au Riesling in Strasbourg?
In his whopping 7-volume novel A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In search of Lost Time), an ill and despondent Proust reluctantly accepts the offer of tea and cake from his mother, “dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, 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 had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory…“. That little bite of Madeleine had reminded him of a childhood treat that his aunt used to dispense, and touched an involuntary memory trigger that took his mind back to the unencumbered enjoyment of pleasure that you can only experience as a child.
If you’ve seen the film Ratatouille, you will recognize an allusion to the Proustian moment in the reaction of ruthless food critic Anton Ego when he takes the first bite. Have you ever had a memorable French meal? Can you recite the menu by heart? Do you have a fail-safe French recipe that is sure to transport you back to your travels around France whenever you taste it?
Share with us your favorite French inspired recipe!