There he goes again…


Well, not actually him, (Marcel, I mean) but I did spot a madeleine mention.  I was reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan and came across a reference the author made to the ability of a bite of a particular food to bring on a “madeleine moment”.  I don’t intend this post to be a book review but I found this book to be a fascinating look at where our food comes from and what it is we are actually eating.  Surprise- most of the time, regardless of what we THINK we are eating, we are eating corn- more specifically, corn syrup.  A meal at a fast-food joint can be over 90% corn syrup, everything from the hamburger (cows are fed corn, which is not their natural food choice and is very hard for them to digest and they have to be given loads of drugs to keep them from dying from the enforced unnatural diet- keep them alive long enough, that is, to be turned into hamburger) to the fries to the milk shake.  There are studies that show that the average American diet is extremely high in corn syrup (high-fructose corn syrup and all the other names they have for it to help disguise it on a food label) and that corn syrup and it’s relatives don’t contain nutrients that our bodies need to sustain not only our bodies but feed our brains.  I’m conjecturing here but could this be related to the soaring levels of obesity, autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s…?

 Anyhow, back to the sighting.  The author had taken his son to a fast-food place so that they could eat a meal there (one of the four mentioned in the title) and his son, Isaac, ordered chicken nuggets.  The author says: “For Isaac, the nugget is a distinct taste of childhood, quite apart from chicken and no doubt, a future vehicle of nostalgia- a madeleine in the making.” (p. 112).  He doesn’t go on, then, to explain his reference to a madeleine in this context (or any other context) and so I wonder how many readers of this book even know what he is talking about?  We, of course, being the avid Marcel Proust readers and sighters that we are, know that he is referring to Marcel’s experience of eating a bite of a madeleine dipped in tea and having an involuntary or unconscious memory occur.  Need a refresher on Marcel’s madeleine moment?  Click here:

So the author believes that someday, his son will eat a chicken nugget and be transported mentally back in time, in an experience so complete that he will remember exactly where he was when eating the nugget (in this case, in a car), what he saw while eating the nugget (his dad eating a hamburger) and smell what he was smelling while eating said nugget (corn syrup?  gas fumes?).  Not quite as poetic or as evocative as Marcel’s madeleine moment, but a moment, nonetheless.


6 comments on “There he goes again…

  1. porchsitter says:

    Hello Mari,

    I’m here from Soul Food. I’ve seen corn syrup in more labels than I can count and often wondered what the point was of it being there, but I would never have made the connection with hamburger, lol. Sounds like an interesting book.

    Your blog and website are unique in subject matter and very well written. I love your trend of thought with the madeleine moments and Marcel sitings. This is a lovely place to visit.

  2. lois daley says:

    I havejust finished reading my daily paper called the Age and there is a feature article of a family who decided not only to eat well and better but to source their food needs locally and healthily.
    They looked at the distance the food had travelled to get to them
    The cost of organic vs sprayed vegies and fruit
    Supporting their local stores not large supermarkets
    Buying food from Australia not overseas/imported
    Cutting down on cleaning products and using the more old fashioned simple cleaners like vinegar/carb soda/lemon juice etc etc
    Going to farmers markets that were at a short distance (No car use..walking to the shops when possible)
    and on and on it went……
    The young couple with 2 children found their week much more enjoyable although it took up more hours of their precious time as they both worked …..
    Sourcing the products and produce took many weeks of investigation and without the internet they would have been at a loss
    Just a thought that made your article all the more
    worrying and relevant as to what we are putting into our bodies…(Lois) ( Muse of the Sea 28/6/07

  3. marimann says:

    Thank you, Porchsitter and Lois, for your comments and support. The amount of time, research and plain work that Michael Pollan (author of the book) and the people that Lois read about in her paper is overwhelming and probably explains why most of us don’t go to the trouble, and sometimes it takes one of us getting really sick to get us to really look at what we’re eating, drinking, breathing…just ask Marcel!

  4. imogen88 says:

    Yes, this is worth thinking about. What do we really want to eat, and why. I love the concept of this blog, it is really fascinating, Mari.

  5. I think your sightings are such a breath of fresh air Mari. Having a very specific blog like this is such a good idea. Utter fun!

  6. Robert Leedy says:

    Thanks for the visit and kind comments. I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through your blog and website. Fascinating, inspiring stuff – a creative labyrinth indeed! I would love to see more of your paintings…


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