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HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEN!!!!

jack o lantrnTrick or treat!!!  Are you ready for, or already having a fabulous Halloween?

I hope so!  I hope your day’s been wonderful so far and continues to be so.  I hope it’s a “treat” for the Halloween day.  Grins.

Speaking of Treats…I was reading an interesting post on the web yesterday.  It was from a food blogger.  She was talking about comfort food.  (Bonnie Taub-Dix, ( http://bit.ly/1wLZyWG )

Of all things, the post is about oatmeal and all the health benefits of a daily bowl of oatmeal.  My husband ADORES oatmeal.

I?  I do not.  It’s kinda like the whole Green Eggs and Ham thing….I will not eat it in the rain, I will not eat it on a plane, I will not eat it here or there – not even at the Starbucks! – I will not eat it anywhere.

What Bonnie Taub-Dix did at the end of the post, however, was talk about comfort.  About…well, Treats.  The surprising, sometimes amazing, but often just simple treats that come in life.  Things we appreciate, but don’t always celebrate.

Ms. Taub-Dix called that appreciative moment a “Ratatouille Moment”   I LOVE that concept and I totally get it.  A Ratatouille Moment according to Bonnie is that moment, as in the animated movie Ratatouille, when you sit down to a meal or have a bite of something that takes you back, that gives you that “Oh! Yum! Ah!” feeling of comfort, of familiarity.RatatouillePoster  Whether from childhood or a great moment in your adult life, or as you feed your own kids, where you feel comforted, fed both physically and spiritually, just by having THAT food.

And those moments–those treats–are just wonderful.

I forwarded Ms. Taub-Dix’s tweet yesterday and enjoyed a brief back and forth with the author herself.  Why?  Because I totally identified with that idea, that Ratatouille Moment, JUST as I did when I watched the movie.  I got it.  I recognized it.

For me, it was one of those “family memories” that just hits you.  It hits you emotionally and, when it involves food, physically, in just the right way.

Whenever I came home from college or whenever there was a celebration of something I was involved in, my mother made my favorite meal.  Ham with pineapple slices.  Sweet potatoes.  Green beans with ham in them for flavoring.  Fruit salad.  Homemade biscuits. Sweet iced tea.

I have three words for this:  Nom. Nom. Nom.

Now THAT is comfort food.  Grins.

It was a treat, for me, the way candy is a treat for some.  If I ate ham like that all the time, it would pall…wait, what am I saying?  No it wouldn’t.  Like some of those who eat oatmeal every day, I could probably eat ham every day.  Hahaha!!

Still, it was a treat.  I love treats.  And I love ham.  My DH joked the other night that I would want ham in my trick or treat bag.  Grins.  He’s probably right.  Ham! Ham! Ham!

I sure wouldn’t want oatmeal.  I’ve TRIED to like it, I really have.  Bandita Cassondra likes it.  I know other Banditas like it.  Heck, like I said, my DH adores the stuff.  Sigh.

overnight-apple-cinnamon-oatmeal-R126019-ssNope.  I wouldn’t want it in my Trick or Treat bag.  Sweet potatoes?  Oh heck yeah.  Asparagus even.  Grins.

KitKats, Tim Tams and pretty much anything chocolate?  I’m so there.

Now, my sons are going to be dressing up tonight and going trick or treating.  They are ALL about the candy.  In some ways, its more about the hunt – how much can they get – rather than the quality or type.  Ha!  Some people are like that about treats.  They want lots and lots of them (quantity) rather than a select few that are really outstanding.  The general rats in the movie Ratatouille are like that too.  Trash? Cheese? Scraps?  Bring it on.

But not Ratatouille, the rat.  He wants to create food.  He wants the joy of creating meals and events and experiences all around dishes that just make you feel comfort.  Home-iness.

Reading is kind of like that too, don’t you think?

Some books are treats – the ones you savor after you’ve worked, the treat for finishing a project, or your own book-work, or the delicious novella you get to devour on the train home from the dreaded day job’s work-work.  (BTW, my Deadly Delivery – a short Thanksgiving suspense novella –coming out in the next few days, if you need some reading on the train….)

Alas, some are tricks – they promise a great story, but they don’t deliver.  Got a couple of those recently.  Had some BIG ones of those in my time…the 1100 page monster of a book that had such great writing and such wonderful detail…and never ended.  No conclusions drawn, no resolution for the main characters, no solving of the mystery.  Just a sort of Gallic shrug and the “conclusion” that life is a mystery and we are never truly satisfied…  Fall_leaves

Bullfeathers.   Gotta admit that was one of the few books I’ve ever actually THROWN.  I threw it across the room.  It made a heck of a dent in the wall too, as you can imagine.  But I felt tricked.  Terribly tricked.  I’d given those 1100 pages my attention, my brain power, and a LOT of my hours.  I felt cheated and tricked.

I so despise it when authors do that.  I hope no reader of mine ever feels that way, although I know it’s impossible to please every reader.  I hope that for most, my stories bring entertainment, excitement, laughter, and the comfort of a story well told to its HEA conclusion.

Good books, and great books, no matter how simple or complex, if they’re crafted well, with genuine skill, are treats to savor just like a fine wine or a great bowl of well-cooked, happily adulterated oatmeal.  They’re comfort food.   Just like great food, (perhaps a well-prepared Ratatouille?) is a treat, no matter how common the ingredients.

To those of us who are avid readers, we’ll take comfort food over the flash of a celebrity chef (or her bio), the brief flaming fame of an actor or books of that ilk, and we go for the solid, delicious comfort food.  We go for the stories of family and friendship, of the bonds of the brothers of war, like Bandita Tawny’s SEALS.  We go for the families, no matter how quirky, from Bandita Caren’s Cross Springs, or the mother and daughter bond, as in Bandita Trish’s Living in Color.

DeadlyDeliveryfinalWe go for the treats like the final Nora Roberts O’Dwyer Cousins book (Just out!!).  Or the treatsy-tricksy-thrill of Hank Phillipi Ryan’s Jane Ryland series (Third book just out!).  We go for the deep, soul searching of our own Bandita Anna Campbell, or the fun of Susan Sey, or the edge of your seat thrills of Jo Robertson, Suz Ferrell or Nancy Northcott.  (All three of whom have great books out!)

Like Ratatouille, we want to give you an adventure, as well as comfort and cheer.  We want to transport you to OUR corners of the world and show you that no matter how many Grimms and ghosties and ghoulies and goblins there might be out there, there’s always the sweet – even if it’s only oatmeal in our heroine’s bowl when she sits down to breakfast and the story begins.

Now, I know this was one of my wandering posts, wrapping from one stepping stone to another, slightly different one.  Grins.  I guess it’s my version of Trick or Treat for Bandits and Bandit Buddies!!  Hahahaha!!  (So, I guess that makes my forthcoming novella a Treat too, right?  Grins.)

So what about y’all?  What’s your comfort food?

Have you ever had a Ratatouille Moment when eating a great meal?  A moment that takes you back to childhood, or a favorite event?

Is there a book you’ve thrown across the room, that you felt was a trick at the end??  (Don’t name names, okay?  Let’s not diss anyone…but if you want to give the general outline, okay)

What’s the best treat you’ve had this October?  Have you treated yourself, or someone else this month?  What kind of treats???

What’s your comfort “go-to” treat? Pumpkin Pie? (A personal fav)  Mini sized Kit-Kats?  Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks?

Do you like to play pranks/tricks?

What are you dressing up as this Halloween?  If you have young kids, what are they going trick-or-treating as?

(All photos are either mine or from Wikimedia Commons or Yahoo Open Source)

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