Memories of my first visits to France, when I was very young, are full of the warmth of the sun, the scent of melons and peaches, the blue of the sea and a litany of tastes the like of which I had never imagined. A lifetime later I anticipate, at this time of each year, the pleasure of the materialisation, a distillation, of those memories as sunlight starts to paint the landscape with inimitable colour and the warmth draws the perfume out of every living thing. Nothing of our today transcends good memories of our yesterday, which are veiled in soft layers of delicious exaggeration.Remembering a perfect summer lunch in a tiny restaurant by the sea where both the food and the service were impeccable, implausibly retouched as that moment may be, will always overshadow the perfect moment of now which includes a wasp and the braying laughter of the people on the next table that have not yet passed through memory’s excellent editing suite. However, cooking from other people’s memories can be a very good thing depending on the choice of person whose memories are the source of the chosen recipes. Elizabeth David is one such person. Not only did she guide and advise on dishes that she had eaten but also recreated the atmosphere in which she had enjoyed them. My main delight in her writing is that she rarely created recipes; I say rarely, as opposed to never, as I am sure that there must be instances of this but of them I am happily unaware. Patricia Wells does the same, for the most part. Like Ms. David she records good things that she has eaten and, more importantly, who cooked them and where she ate them. This recording of good memories is the very best of food writing.
This modest apple tart, seen on the same summer day in two locations some 2 meters apart, is such a recipe. Ms. Wells records that she ate it at the home of Francoise and Gerard Potel, of the Domain de la Pousse d’Or in Burgundy, where she had organised several wine tasting dinners. It was Francoise Potel, a great home cook, who prepared it and so impressed was Patricia Wells that she added it to her “apple pie” repertoire. Those words, that preceded the recipe in her book “Bistro Cooking”, filled me with confidence and confirmed that the home of good memories is the place where good food resides.
I remember my first visit to Paris, sitting in an outside cafe, absorbing everything around me and falling in love with that beautiful city. I will be there in two weeks and hope for the same.
If not….check out the memory bank:)
soft layers of delicious exaggeration….I love that line.
Ah the nostalgia. Truly unbeatable!
It’s good, isn’t it….:)
Hells yes. I effing love it!!
I remember waffles, crêpes and strawberry liquor, from my first visit at 14, but I would definitely have remembered that tart if I’d eaten it! You’ve got a perfect Hockney blue in your swimming pool 😉
I shall start selling pieces of it at great profit:)
Shoot 100 Polaroids and do a montage, then sell each one for £1000 😉
It worked for him:P
What a beautiful post. Lovely photos, memories and tarte. I could get lost in this post.
Good place to be….lost in France:)
Some superb writing regarding memory that stopped me in my tracks -‘ veiled in soft layers of delicious exaggeration’ and ‘memory’s excellent editing suite’- so much so, that the excellent apple pie became a mere postscript.. Did you wake up and find that you had turned into Shakespeare?
No….same retired, old photographer:)
‘Memories of my first visit to France’ brings forth a 13-year-old refugee kid from NE Europe waiting for a tramp steamer on its last journey ex Marseilles to Down Under! Cuisine; one was overjoyed to put anything in one’s mouth!! Since then so many opportunities of ‘delicious exaggeration’ which have not been such at all 🙂 ! Elizabeth David: a resounding ‘yes’, Patricia Wells ‘thank you for the introduction!!
What a frightening time to have lived and how amazing to have survived. On a lighter note, I think Patricia Wells is a great food writer…particularly for Bistro Cooking and the Provence Cookbook.
Thanks! Will do my homework 😀 !!
Apple tarts in France is one of my memories too ☺ they are very popular here in Lux too, but the French ones are exceptional it’s true!Lovely sun Roger!
Thanks…I don’t know why I bother to cook apple tarts with all the wonderful patisserie here….:)
Ah, memory and the mind’s eye are always such interesting places to to refer back to. Beautiful writing Mr S.
Good places to be and curtains can be drawn to hide the bad places:)
Food that brings back good memories is the best of all.
I’ll second that:)
It’s my favorite kind of food writing as well – transports you right back to that time and place!
Exactly…and by someone whose opinion you trust:)
Wow, Roger. Not sure which I loved more, your prose or the anticipation of that apple tart. This line you wrote is so, achingly, true… ‘Nothing of our today transcends good memories of our yesterday, which are veiled in soft layers of delicious exaggeration.’ (I have learned not to trust my memory for accuracy, and this is why.) And your final triumph, ‘the home of good memories is the place where good food resides.’
Thanks for that….very glad that it did it for you:)
Simple perfection! Love the photos!
Many thanks for that:)
Brilliant – thanks.
Absolutely gorgeous, I will have to make this, thank you for sharing.
Many thanks for checking out and following my blog….glad you liked it:)
Made this for my book club last night. I needed something quick, and this took hardly any time to prepare. I added some lemon zest to the mix and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon sugar on the top before baking. Served it with vanilla ice cream. Everyone raved about it. There is a reason some of these traditional favorites stand the test of time 🙂
So pleased that it worked well….I’m a real fan of the traditional favourites:)