What's your Proust food moment?

Hello, Snackers. You know about Proust and the madeleine, yes? How a single taste can zoom you back to a specific time and place years ago? (The climactic scene in Ratatouille is another good example. Also, Proust’s first draft had the madeleines as toast—for real.)

I’m on break this week, but I’m curious to hear what specific taste has that effect on you, conjuring memories from way back when, giving you a feeling of being in another place and time.

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Photo by Simon McGill via Getty Images. Alas, I don’t have a photo of the chocolate croissants from A Baker’s Wife.

My Proust food moment

For me, it’s chocolate croissants from A Baker’s Wife’s Pastry Shop in Minneapolis. They’ve actually changed owners and recipes recently, to my great sadness, but before that, these pastries were giant, dense things with too much butter and an incredible amount of chocolate, a recipe like nothing else I’ve had. I loved those things. We served them as part of the dessert at our wedding; I had them at my high school and college graduation parties. When I traveled to Paris in 2008, I brought back a bunch of actual Parisian pastries, including pains au chocolat—I’d stopped at a good bakery on my way to the train to CDG that morning, and when I returned to Minneapolis, before even going home, I took the train to A Baker’s Wife, giant REI hiking pack still on my back, to share the treats with Gary, the baker.

Those chocolate croissants Gary made always took me back to Saturday breakfasts on the porch of my parents’ house. As a hungry teenager, I’d usually eat two, washed down with a glass of milk, while looking out at the shady yard and the sun poking in through the east-facing windows. The pastries meant comfort and leisure and a feeling of being at home, in a safe, happy place, in a specific moment of adolescence; eventually, they added the other layers of graduation parties and the late-night dessert spread at our wedding, everything laid out under the amber glow of fairy lights. We’d ordered half-sized chocolate croissants, but Gary made them essentially full-size and charged us half the price, an “I’ll take care of you” gesture that added to the sense that when I was eating one of those pastries, all was well with the world.

There are plenty of other foods that transport me to a singular moment or time in my life, but that’s the main one that comes to mind.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your Proust food memory?

Don’t feel like you have to write as much as I did—short is fine! Let’s get this conversation going.

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