Saturday, July 9, 2011
Literary Madeleines from Martha
Planning a writers conference in one's back yard is like embracing a large bunch of mint in your hands and taking a deep breath inward to allow your mind to bask in the invigorating essence of bliss. (I bought fresh mint at the farmer's market yesterday just for this purpose). As I read the bios of the individuals possibly slated to attend the event next year I'm in awe of the great number of people who write for a living, edit for a living, and/or represent writing for a living. Actually I do not have to look beyond my back yard to find contemporaries living here in the Lowcountry...there's Margaret Shinn Evans editor at the Lowcountry Weekly, there's Teresa Bruce an author/screenwriter, and then there's Kami Kinard a young adult novelist (not to mention some nationally known authors like Pat Conroy, Cassandra King who enjoy the salt marsh as much as the rest of us). Up until last year writing was simply something I did well and it always was connected to my occupation. Now it is what I must breathe to live a literary life. I found a recipe in a 1988 edition of Martha Stewart's Quick Cook Menu: 52 meals you can make in under an hour to align the literary journey with the kitchen...Coconut Madeleines & Persimmons with Tequila and Mint. (Scroll through the link I've provided to page 221 for the recipe...love it when cookbooks are online for the blog). There's a caption to a photo of this dish in Martha's text indicating that Madeleines have literary glory and cites that they play a memorable role in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. "But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection." Indeed, life through taste and smell serves to recollect, but it also creates.