Remembrance of Things Parmesan

“She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called “petites madeleines,” which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell…  No sooner had [it] touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. … Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature. Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it?”

– Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Swann’s Way

Last week, I had my dear friend Bailey Jeanne over for dinner. It had been too, too long since we’d spent time together. I picked her up from the metro and we headed back to my house for dinner. We made delicious Eggplant Parmesan. Bailey recently became a vegetarian so I was trying to think of something she would like!

Bailey Jeanne the Dancin' Machine

Bailey Jeanne the Dancin' Machine

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

We ate and drank wine and caught up about life. It was wonderful and it got me thinking about when I learned to make Eggplant Parmesan.

Jo taught me to make Eggplant Parm last year (oof, almost two years ago!) while I was in Spain. Jo is half Greek, half Italian, 100% awesome. Her parents own a restaurant and she grew up around great food.  We had so much fun last year learning to cook and teaching each other things. She taught me about bleeding the eggplant, which I didn’t know you had to do! And she baked the plants of egg instead of frying it which made slightly healthier. It’s a little time-consuming and labor intensive, but totally worth it. It is a great comfort food. The south of Spain was particularly rainy when I was there, so Eggplant Parm was perfect on rainy Sundays when there was nothing to do!

Jo and her Masterpiece

Jo and her Masterpiece

Isn’t it amazing how foods or smells (or music!) will take you back to a certain memory? These passages from Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way are really great at explaining that feeling.

“And as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me (although I did not yet know and must long postpone the discovery of why this memory made me so happy) immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set to attach itself to the little pavilion opening on to the garden which had been built out behind it for my parents (the isolated segment which until that moment had been all that I could see)… and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, from my cup of tea.”

– Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Swann’s Way

EB

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One thought on “Remembrance of Things Parmesan

  1. I agree on how smells can take you back a million years – or even bring back the memory of a person. And definitely the smell of parmigiana (eggplant parmesan) takes me back to summer days in sunny Italy, when holiday+summer meant Parmigiana…!

    You writing is very entertaining, and I love the pics you chose!

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