When Carol Ann Duffy met Proust | Portsmouth High School

When Carol Ann Duffy met Proust

Year 10 accessed memories of times past through the tastes of childhood they re-encountered in their creative writing based on In Your Mind and the Madeleine from A La Recherche….

What Year 10 remembered:

Charcoaly taste of food when we used to have barbecues when we went camping, and fires in the evening with marshmallows.

Pineapples remind me of Bangladesh because every time I would visit, my grandad would always bring some.

Mangos remind me of Pakistan when I saw my uncle at midnight in the dark eating a mango.

The chocolate gold bars remind me of being on the ski lift with Rosie with freezing hands and messy hair.

I remember the taste of my grandma’s shortbread and that takes me back to staying at her house and sitting in her garden in the warm summers.

Year 10 developed their memories to link the present and the past…

The TV was on, illuminating the room as the windows showed pitch blackness. My mama brought in a tray full of mangoes: vibrant, yellow oval yumminess with a green and red layer protecting them. I saw her cut them open. My hands reached out without me even recognising. I took a bite and I no longer saw a mango in front of me. I saw Pakistan a few years ago: me waking up in the middle of the night, my throat parched and my brain not fully awake. But most importantly I chewed on the sweetness and remembered seeing my Uncle sitting peacefully, slurping down a couple of mangoes at 12 am. I got up and went to bed peacefully with the tanginess on my tongue.

Ashlyn, Year 10


Surrounded by family as I am baking a batch of gingerbread in the oven, the smell of cinnamon is transported all around the room, music is playing, people are singing along. Once I take out the cookies the fire alarm goes off: I always manage to burn at least one of them. I pass them around the room. Once you take a bite into the ginger bread you can get transported straight to Christmas.

Amelie, Year 10


I’m having a hot chocolate and the waiter has given me a little biscuit on the side, I think nothing of it. As I finish my hot chocolate, I try the biscuit and the second I bite into it I suddenly get this feeling, a feeling I can’t place but one that brought a warm feeling to me. Then it strikes me: the thought of my granny, spending afternoons with her where I must have had this snack before, surely. Every bite I take brings back the memory stronger as if the biscuit was feeding the fuel for my brain to remember. I don’t remember the biscuit, but I remember the fondness of the moment during which I must have eaten the biscuit.

Emma, Year 10


I admired the variety of cakes and pastries on display but I already knew which one I was going to pick. “Thank you” had barely escaped my lips before I hurriedly sat down at the table, coffee and shortbread in tow. Biting down, a familiar sensation hits, a buttery, sugary taste, crumbs lingering on my lips. It takes me back to more simple times: softly opening the pantry door, scanning a colourful array of tins, carefully opening each one to find the prize. Two different times but the same taste. Same texture. Same impatience.

Bonnie, Year 10