How Old.Do.You Need.To.Be A Girl.Scout Madeleines – French Snack Cakes With a History

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Madeleines – French Snack Cakes With a History

You may have heard of the incredibly popular French scallop-shaped tea cake known as a madeleine and sometimes called a madeleine cookie. They are not really anything special – just a buttery, yellow cake and their uniqueness is mainly in the shape. But as with many foods in France, the food has a fascinating history that adds a level of delight and interest to each sweet bite.

The history of the French cake

There are several different versions of who made the first madeleines and why. In one version, Madeleine was a young maid who was asked to create a special delicacy for Stanislas Leczynski, the deposed Polish king who sought refuge in France in the 17th century. Special cakes were made supposedly to appease the spirits of the poor unwanted king. In another version, another Madeleine created special scallop-shaped cakes to feed to pilgrims heading to the burial site of Saint Jacques. The scallop was a symbol of protection long associated with Saint Jacques in France, and scallops are indeed called coquilles Saint Jacques.

In any case, whoever first made scalloped shaped madeleines had a very good idea, as their popularity has only grown over the centuries. Initially, they were produced on a small scale, but with the ongoing industrial revolution, the way was paved for production on a larger scale.

City of commerce

About a hundred years after they were first made, one town in particular, Commercy, in the Lorraine region of eastern France, became the center of commercial production. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, passengers on a train passing through Commercy were entertained by the many saleswomen who visited the station to sell their employers’ madeleines. The women carried cakes in large baskets, each shouting louder than the other in an effort to be the one to sell. It must have been quite a sight as it is still remembered today and Madeleine makers still proudly label their brands ‘made in Commerce’.

Proust

However, it was the French author Marcel Proust who really immortalized the madeleine. In his autobiographical book Á la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of things past), Proust’s protagonist takes a bite from a madeleine and is sent back to a vivid memory of his childhood, which is the subject of the book. The phrase “Proust’s madeleine” is now synonymous with anything that triggers a long and colorful memory of a supposedly forgotten past.

Snack time in France

If it’s four o’clock in the afternoon in France, there are mothers all over the country pulling a package of madeleines from the pantry shelf to serve them groove or a snack. The French generally follow a strict diet with regular times for each meal. He eats lunch between noon and one and dinner after 7:30 p.m., which is quite a long stretch without a nose, especially if you’re seven years old. It is not recommended to snack between meals, but groove it can be counted on many times groove it’s madeleine

If you get the chance to enjoy a madeleine, perhaps with afternoon tea, you might like to remember the long history of this simple little cake.

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