The quote comes from page 26-29:
My mouth is the opening into myself, the principal portal of the body: the teeth, the gums, the fleshy slope of the throat, the glistening entrance into the dark depths below. The myriad tastebuds of the tongue, which when I was young, I imagined resembled the buds on the frangipani tree outside our house.This book has a lot of emphasis of the experiences of the senses and this description definitely had me salivating.
I pictured a tongueful of flowers, smaller than the eye could see, hundreds of tender buds opening as one to savour the body's bountiful catch.
From my earliest days I have had affairs with the food that gives my body life. Food may be mouthless but it is nonetheless animate, created by the dance of water, heat and life.
I have had endless affairs with fat French cheeses, creamy and sticky, made from raw cow's milk, brought to full, ripe life through the confluence of time and air. The rich distinctive smell of a mature brie de Melun has spilt into my nose and mouth, causing my mouth to flood with water and desire.
I have been a lover of milky chocolate dissolving on my tongue, of the dreamy bloom of thick, sensuous fragrance that spreads up from the tongue to the roof of the mouth, to light up all the pleasure receptors of the brain.
And then there is the croissant. Such a brief, perishing object! So full of life, yet as evanescent as the most fragile butterfly, dead by day's end, its flowering over within hours. Le feuilletage, layer upon layer of pastry animated by yeast, alive with butter, rolled and folded as carefully as an old-fashioned handwritten letter.
In the northern hemisphere croissants have a season, like asparagus or cherries, and the croissant's season is brief, from the end of October to the beginning of November. After this, the wheat harvests of summer are blended with older harvests, and the pastry made from blended wheat becomes inferior.
The particular warm, satisfying fragrance of a proper croissant au beurre in season, preferably eaten at a cafe in Paris on a pale autumn day, fresh out of the oven, warm and alive.
The whiff of the egg wash in the moment before the croissant enters the mouth and is felt upon the tongue. The crisp golden flakes surrounding its moist heart, flakes as sharp as toast, which crackle as you bite into it. Pierre Herme, the renowned Parisian patissier, says that the sign of a good croissant is that you should be able to hear its suffering as you eat it.
The tongue is the last to forget desire: my mother's tongue loved chocolate, avocado and cream right up until the end, when at last her tongue of flowers forgot the sound of suffering.