Monday, 2 May 2011
Proust and Lobster Tail candies
During the Easter weekend, my parents gave a slide show of their trip to the Motherland: Southern Ukraine. I saw pictures of where my great-grandparents' home once stood, the photo of the family flour mill which is now a residence for school girls, many photos of farms, villages, food, and this candy. Dad and his siblings were excited to find a shop in Odessa selling these
crayfish lobster tail candies that were a special treat from their childhood. They were unfamiliar to me, but out of curiosity, I looked for them in a local Ukrainian food shop here in Canada. The moment I popped one into my mouth, I was brought back to the Mennonite children's Christmas programs of my childhood. After the program, the children were handed brown paper bags stuffed with fruit, nuts, and hard candies. The crayfish lobster tail candy (called Rock-of-ah-shee-key) evoked an involuntary memory similar to Marcel Proust's unexpected experience with a madeleine dipped in tea that he recounted in Remembrance of Things Past. In an instant I was brought back in time to wearing a tinsel halo and an angel costume, to the smell of wax candles burning brightly, and singing Away in a Manger.