Madeleines. French pastry. Little sea shell pans that say, “Elegance!”
To get into the mood, I started to read Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinette: The Journey. Surely Marie Antoinette ate Madeleines while she was buying all those shoes (4 pairs a week according to Madame Fraser). The reference to Proust and tea made me think of my ultra gracious friend, Dorothy, who attended the Sorbonne and enjoys high tea. Then I thought of Madeleine of the children’ book (a character that I adore to this day); all that romping around Paris and getting into trouble with the nuns.
So once I got into the zone (and Amazon delivered those sea shell pans), I attacked the recipe. Carefully I planned it all out making sure that I followed the directions precisely. When I pulled them out of the oven 3 minutes short of the outside range to bake, the tops did not brown, but the sea shell side did. I really didn’t know what to make of this – was it supposed to be that way? They smelled both good and a bit overly done.
I wondered what Marie Antoinette would have thought of them. Would she look at them and toss them aside? Would she stuff them into her high hairdo for the birds? Would she go shoe shopping? I don’t know what Marie Antoinette would do, but I know two things: 1) I would only have Madeleines at high tea with Dorothy; and, 2) I don’t buy 4 pairs of shoes each week.