Madame Swann at Home manuscript

   [...] on going to the kitchen to compliment her over her beef and her soufflé. In any case Françoise was no more capable or desirous of revealing the mystery as to what made her aspics and sauces so superior than is an artist or a lady of fashion when pressed by an admirer about his music or her style of dress to say "what makes it so good?". She accepted my mother's compliments with a proud simplicity and the joyful intelli[...]

   [...] on going to the kitchen to pay her compliments, Françoise accepted them with the proud simplicity and the joyful intelligence of an artist when someone speaks to him of his art and who has suddenly become interesting. In any case she was no more capable - or desirous - of revealing the mystery as to what made her terrines or her soufflés so superior, than a musician questioned about his art, or a great lady of fashion about her style of dress. My mother had sent her to several restaurants to see how the cooking was done there. I had the same pleasure, in hearing her dismiss the most famous as them as mere cookshops, as I had had long ago seeing one of my friends point out the difference between the reputations of certain actors and their talents. "The Ambassador told me that there is no restaurant where one can eat as good aspics and soufflés as yours." Françoise agreed: "They don't cook it all together, you want the beef to become like a sponge, then it will soak up all the juices to the last drop. Still, there was one of those restaurants where I thought they knew something about cooking. I don't say it was quite my aspic, but it was well done, and the soufflés had plenty of cream. To me that one had something about it of a good family kitchen, down there, along the main boulevards." This kitchen with a proud [...]

Variant manuscript fragments from Autour de Madame Swann, first part of À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. From Cahier CXIX, N.A.F. 16729, 64r.


Return to Front Page