1 : a small rich shell-shaped cake
2 : one that evokes a memory
Did You Know?
The madeleine is said to have been named after a 19th-century French cook named Madeleine Paumier, but it was the French author Marcel Proust who immortalized the pastry in his 1913 book Swann's Way, the first volume of his seven-part novel Remembrance of Things Past. In that work, a taste of tea-soaked cake evokes a surge of memory and nostalgia. As more and more readers chewed on the profound mnemonic power attributed to a mere morsel of cake, the word "madeleine" itself became a designation for anything that evokes a memory.
"The evening started with wine and snacks, which included house-made charcuterie, cheese, and cornbread madeleines-the latter, I thought, a clever mashup of French and US traditions…." - From an article by Tom Philpott on MotherJones.com, March 11, 2014 "Every year, the family gathered in the backyard to roast a whole pig in a pit. Between the smell and the smoke, it makes for my own 35-pound madeleine." - From an article by Ana Menéndez in Gourmet, September 2007
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