Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Not Another Thing, Ma, I'm Stuffed...

Forget about Thanksgiving.  Here is Sunday lunch with Marcel's family at Combray under the ministrations of  Françoise, the family's apparently immortal retainer.
[A]u fond permanent d'œufs, de côtelettes, de pommes de terre, de confitures, de biscuits, qu'elle ne nous annonçait même plus, Françoise ajoutait— selon les travaux des champs et des vergers , le fruit de la marée, les hasards du commerce, les politesses des voisins et son propre génie, et si bien que notre menu, comme ces quatre-feuilles qu'on sculptait au XIIIe siècle au portail des cathédrales, reflétait un peu le rythme des saisons et les épisodes de la vie—: une barbue parce que la marchande lui en avait garanti la fraîcheur, une dinde parce qu'elle en avait vu une belle au marché de Roussainville -le-Pin, des cardons à la moelle parce qu'elle ne nous en avait pas encore fait de cette manière-là, un gigot rôti parce que le grand air creuse et qu'il avait bien le temps de descendre d'ici sept heures, des épinards pour changer , des abricots parce que c'était encore une rareté, des groseilles parce que dans quinze jours il n'y en aurait plus, des framboises que M. Swann avait apportées exprès , des cerises, les premières qui vinssent du cerisier du jardin après deux ans qu'il n'en donnait plus, du fromage à la crème que j'aimais bien autrefois, un gâteau aux amandes parce qu'elle l'avait commandé la veille, une brioche parce que c'était notre tour de l'offrir.

Marcel Proust. Du côté de chez Swann (Kindle Locations 113-1144). 
[U]pon a permanent foundation of eggs, cutlets, potatoes, jams, biscuits which she no longer even announced to us, Françoise would add—depending on the labors in the fields and orchards, the fruit of the tide, the luck of the marketplace, the kindness of neighbors, and her own genius, and with the result that our menu, like the  quatrefoils carved on the portals of cathedrals in the thirteenth century, reflected somewhat the rhythm of the seasons and the incidents of daily life—a brill because the monger had guaranteed her that it was fresh, a turkey hen because she had seen a large one at the Roussainville-le-Pin market, cardoons with marrow because she had not made them for us that way before, a roast leg of mutton because fresh air whets the appetite and it would have plenty of time to “descend” in the next seven hours, spinach for a change, apricots because they were still uncommon, gooseberries because in two weeks there would not be any more, raspberries that M. Swann had brought especially, cherries, the first that had come from the cherry tree in the garden after two years in which it had not given any, cream cheese, which I liked very much at one time, an almond cake because she had ordered it the day before, a brioche because it was our turn to present it.  
Proust, Marcel (2004-11-30). Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time, Volume 1 (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (pp. 72-73). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition. 

4 comments:

Yuan Liu said...

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear professor!

The New York Crank said...

Another charter member of the Impossibly Long, But Still Completely And Alarmingly Legal, Sentence Club of World Literature.

Dare one suggest that after Proust, a reaction called Hemingway was inevitable?

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

Buce said...

Hell, this one ain't even in the quarter finals. Our classmate Mark Strand called them "great cathedrals of commas and semicolons." BTW, did you know before that the French for "brill" was "barbue?"

Anonymous said...

Such a feast, dear Jack. What's for dessert? Harley