Childhood Memories and the Croque Monsieur
When does a simple grilled sandwich take on mythical status? Apparently when it is mentioned by Proust. David's search for the perfect Madeleine in Paris the other day had certain associations fresh in my mind, and when I found the croque monsieur press yesterday the simple pattern inside made me think that childhood gustatory memories a la Proust perhaps were the inspiration for the shape embedded into the press. But I may never be sure. I can't find the inventor of the Cuisor croque monsieur press or one of his or her progeny in order to ask. Perhaps we will never know.
Now what about this mention of croque monsieurs by Proust? Apparently in 1919, Proust and his Grandmother are served a croque monsieur and eggs. There is no reference to the actual meal, just a mention that it was ordered for them. This is very significant to the history of the sandwich, non? Perhaps I should read it now that I am reading in French and see if I can find out what the hullabaloo is about.
I studied the French language once with a lovely Japanese girl named Akiko who was doing a graduate thesis on Proust's mention of food, and was here in France for a linguistic stage before going back to the Japanese university. I always admired her academic stick-to-it-iveness. She was very serious about her subject and I thought there was something about her that was very attractive, observant in a quiet and systematic kind of listening way. We got along quite well. There was everything to respect in her chosen vocation. If I called Akiko she could probably tell me more.
The sandwich was delicious. I can't wait to try out all the variations.