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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Comments

32 Comments

  • Helen says:

    Is he staying with me

    Have fun
    Helen

  • Jane says:

    Hello Jeanne,
    Happy Halloween. My dad’s specialty is beef fried noodles, so I’ll go with that as my comfort food. I’ve never thrown a book across the room, but I’m sure there were times where I was so frustrated I thought about chucking it. My favorite treat this month was the box of Belgian Waffles I picked up at Trader Joe’s.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Ooooh! Belgian waffles from Trader Joes? Must check those out on my next Joe’s run! Grins.

      And beef fried noodles sounds yummy. If there’s beef involved, much like ham, I’m there. Carnivore to the max. Snork!

      Had to LOL that you’ve never actually thrown one. I have, obviously. And my dad was a librarian. I confess I leapt from teh bed to check the BOOK before I checked the wall. Grins. Still made about that book and those lost hours and it’s been years ago….grins. Guess I should let it go, huh? Ha!

  • Helen says:

    Jeanne

    My grandkids will be going out trick or treating in a couple of hours from now and I have a big bowl of sweets if anyone Knicks in the door I am sure the Rooster will be very helpful 🙂

    And tomorrow we have a bug family reunion that I have been cooking for and I made lammingtons because these bring back so many memories if my Mum and my cousins asked me to make them as well I am sure there will be lots of treats tomorrow that will bring back find memories from my childhood 🙂

    And no I haver never thrown a book lol although there have been some I probably could have over the years

    Looking forward to your novella 🙂

    Have fun
    Helen

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Helen, you’ll have to remind us all again what lammingtons are! Are they cakes? I’m excited that Trick or Treat’s caught on a bit in Oz. Grins. I’m a big fan, as you well know. Ha!

      You’ll see on Facebook when the Novella goes live, so thanks for the good wishes there. :>

      • Helen says:

        Jeanne

        Yes lammingtons are cake a vanilla cake cut into sqaures and coated in chocolate and coconut yum. And yes Halloween is catching on here in Oz I have just put a photo up on facebook of the treats we have to pass out to any who knock on the door 🙂

        Have Fun
        Helen

  • Amy Conley says:

    My comfort food is pretty easy, white rice with lots of butter and pepper.

    My stuffed cabbage takes me back, even though I make it differently than anyone else makes it.
    I have most definately throw a book across the room. I was in tears because this is all we got from the triology. Furious.

    My best treat was spending tine with grandson #

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Whew! Amy, you saved me from being the only book love who’s actually thrown a book. Thanks…I think. :> And yes, if a trilogy doesn’t “end” – really irritating!!

      Time with family is ALWAYS a…..wait…not always. But with the kids, it’s always a treat. Grins.

  • flchen1 says:

    Hmm… So many comfort foods! Ramen. Spam musubi. Meatloaf. Mashed potatoes. Homemade mac and cheese… Pie. Cookies… Mmm… 😉

    As for a Ratatouille moment? Probably–having sticky rice made a certain way always reminds me of my mom 🙂 I still haven’t quite mastered it, alas!

    As for thrown books, I try pretty hard to avoid reads like that–I’ll check reviews for stuff like that and avoid those like the plague! That’s one reason I tend to read mostly romance and why I avoid stuff that is marketed as “romantic” or “an epic love story” because that says to me, something bad happens at the end 😉

    Best treat I’ve had this month? Seeing my kids achieve some great things–some academic, some athletic–and witnessing how they’re starting to mature, at least in little ways 🙂

    My comfort go-to treat is probably candy. I prefer gummies, but will eat just about anything ;p

    Not a huge fan of pranks or tricks–playing them or having them played on me 😉

    I hope to avoid dressing up this year–we’ll see! DS2’s inherited DS1’s Charlie Brown shirt; DS1 and DD have made themselves “Camp Half-Blood” t-shirts… 😀

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh, Fedora, I am SO with you on the Epic Love Story thing. I also avoid books that my more literary friends say, “Oh you HAVE to read this book, it’s so wrenching” Uh-huh…no. I need my HEA. I also pretty much avoid Oprah-book-club-type books, anything Faulkner or highly touted as “literary masterpieces.” Why?

      One word. De-Press-Ing. If I want to be depressed, I don’t need fiction. Just watch the news, right? Grins. Or do something about it by working a soup kitchen. Ha!

      Snorking over the costumes. My Eldest now at 6’1″ (and 14) is going trick or treating as the Shadow. Youngest is a Ninja.

      Did I do something to influence this? Hmmmm…

      • flchen1 says:

        Holy schmoly, Jeanne!! My eldest has yet to hit his growth spurt so he and his younger sister are neck and neck–I remain taller than them both, but only by a fraction of an inch, alas 😉 And LOL!! I’m sure you had NOTHING to do with their costume choices. Zippo, nada… 😉

        High five on the reading material–SO with you. I CHOOSE to avoid literary fiction and even some women’s fiction because I don’t want that extra level of “reality”… plenty of reality if I want to indulge 😉

        • Jeanne Adams says:

          I know, right? He’s towering over me and looking his dad in the eye. Crazy!! My younger one is tall too, but doesn’t SEEM like he’s tall b/c eldest is UBER tall. Hahah!!

          And you’re too right. Lots of reality if we need it. I go to books for my escape.

  • Shannon says:

    A moment that takes you back to childhood, or a favorite event? Turkey and dressing, especially dressing that I made then.

    Is there a book you’ve thrown across the room, that you felt was a trick at the end??
    Yes, and probably the best revenge I’ve forgotten most of details. Well, there is one author who does the most evil, enticing hooks!

    What’s the best treat you’ve had this October? I had to wait at the pharmacy, and I discovered a new candy (not chocolate *happy dance*) called Bliss. There is some left in the bag after three days.

    What’s your comfort “go-to” treat? Pumpkin ravioli in some kind of fancy sausage cream based sauce topped with Parmesan.

    What are you dressing up as this Halloween? If you have young kids, what are they going trick-or-treating as? I’m not really dressing up. but I am abandoning professional attire. I have spider web earrings, a cat shirt (black cats on orange), and orange witch socks. I am certain I will get the usual that isn’t professional. I’m 54. Life is to short not to have a bit of fun. Perhaps that’s my form of a prank?

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Ohhhh, Shannon….pumpkin ravioli? OMGosh! Recipe??? Sounds absolutely drool-worthy!!!

      Snorking over your non–professional attire. Its one day, people. Get over it.

      I currently have on a t-shirt with a very large glow-in-the-dark Reeses Cup/Jack-o-lantern on it. I scared the crap out of myself the other day b/c I was wearing it and hubby had already turned off the lights and gone to bed. I tiptoed into the master batrhoom and all I saw in the mirror was the glow in the dark pumpkin face. SNORK!!! LMAO when I realized, but there was that moment of “EEEK!”

      • Shannon says:

        LOL at shirt.

        As for pumpkin ravioli, I checked at the eating trough, known as Clyde’s, to see if it is back on the brunch menu. No luck. I will ask for the recipe from the chef, but I seriously doubt he’ll reveal any secrets.

  • Laurie G says:

    I was raised in Wisconsin, the dairy state. Growing up Fischer Dairy made home deliveries of Sealtest ice cream and other dairy products. SchwanDairy still does. DQ treats came around in an ice cream truck. College days UW’s Babcock Dairy made and still makes the yummiest ice cream. My comfort food is ice cream. My favorite flavor alternates between Breyer’s Heath Bar and Edy’s Mint Chocolate Chip.

    My Ratatouille moment is fried chicken, Hecker’s style. From aged 2-12 we vacationed in Elkhart Lake, WI. Hecker’s was a restaurant in nearby Crystal Lake, we went there on Friday nights for their fantastic fried chicken. I always asked for fried chicken and mashed potatoes for my birthday dinner.

    Luckily there are only a couple of books which disappointed me and I felt weren’t worth the money I had spent.

    I’ve never been a fan of Halloween. My children liked it. I hated dressing up as a child. I have no creative genes. I do like to see the cute costumes.

    My 3 yo granddaughter will be a princess. My7 month old grandson will be a bee.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh, they’re SO cute as princesses and bees at that age! I so love that. My yougest was a pumpkin for his first Halloween. He was only about 10 months at that point, and it was the CUTEST costume. Grins.

      And I am SO with you on Fried Chicken. I adore the stuff. I will always, always eat fried chicken. Grins. Second fav next to ham.

  • Hi Jeanne! Fun post.

    comfort food – my daughter’s Mac & Cheese – she makes it better than me or my mom, my potato salad (when I follow my MIL’s methods), and my sausage soup with a hunk of good crusty soft bread.

    I’ve never thrown a book. IF I did it might smack one of my teetering TBR stacks and that would be a mess. These days I’ll abandon the book long before it disappoints me.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Donna! Mac & Cheese is so great, isn’t it? And it’s funny that it’s your daughter is the one who makes it. And anything with crusty bread has my attention. Grins.

      And had to LOL about the teetering piles. I agree. SNORK!!

  • catslady says:

    I am so with you on the oatmeal! I never liked certain textures and lumpy oatmeal is one of them lol. Pizza, fresh bread and spagetti are some of my comfort foods. All my ancestors were Sicilian! There was one pizza place in town where I worked that made the same kind of pizza my grandmother made. It’s no longer there but it’s the only place I’ve ever found that made the exact kind as my grandmother.

    I’ve never thrown a book but there is one series of books that I loved the first book and really liked the next two but then each one after got repetitive, short, and preachy. There were way too many books and I felt like reading them was torture so I never even read the last in the series.

    Love pumpking pie with whipped cream!

  • Becke says:

    comfort food? soft sugar/butter cookie w/ no icing.

    Ratatouille Moment: Every Saturday Dad and I went pony shopping. He bought sugar cookies for me so I could munch waiting for him to finish errands.

    Is there a book you’ve thrown across the room, that you felt was a trick at the end??
    Yes, and it was so popular and made into a movie. The ending was virtually summarized like the author ran over his word count!

    What’s the best treat you’ve had this October? slice an apple very thin. Sprinkle w/ cinnamon and 1 T uncooked oats and 1T sliced almonds. Nuke 3-5 mins. Add 2T of vanilla yogurt, whipped topping, or ice cream–yummy

    Have you treated yourself, or someone else this month? Mini candy bars

    Pumpkin Pie

    Do you like to play pranks/tricks? Nope

    Grands: little monster, nascar driver, ninja

    We took them to Boo at the Zoo.
    Too cute.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Becke! Oooh, I LOVE that recipe! Gonna try it with some fabulously huge HoneyCrisp apples. You can only get them this time of year and my kids love them.

      Oh! I hate that kind of ending. There’s a very popular Southern Author (caps are deliberate, for sure) who does that. Her books are incredibly delicious up to the last 35 pages. Then its “And then this happened, this happened, and the end. Bye!” Arrrrgh. I can’t read her anymore.

      Which Nascar Driver, or just one, in general?

  • Cassondra says:

    Jeanne, my favorite comfort foods vary with the season.

    My mom’s fried chicken with mashed potatoes and white gravy–that’s year round, though. (Shoot. I think I need to make that. Now I’m starving.)

    In cool weather like we’re having now, I go for homemade chicken soup or chili.

    In winter, sometimes nothing will do but a big slab of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and turnip greens and cornbread.

    In summer, watermelon is actually comfort food for me because of the memories it evokes, but I also love homegrown tomatoes, and a big bowl of pinto beans with green onions (and once again, corn bread).

    I think mashed potatoes show up more than any other food when I think of “comfort.”

  • Jeanne, thanks for the shout-out! My comfort food choice are many, but I’ll always go mac and cheese. Tomato sandwiches take me back to my childhood, and so does marshmallow cream-based fudge, which my mom made every year.

    I have never thrown a book across the room, thiugh
    I have been disappointed in some endings.

    Treat of the month is the homemade carrot cake with homemade pound cake I had last night. My go-to treat is the Milky Way bar.

    Have never done tricks and am not dressing up this year.

    Fun post, Duchesse!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      THanks, Nancy! Hey I am TOTALLY excited about Warrior being out. Actually, I must go promo it on Twitter…Grins.

      Marshmallow based fudge. Now there’s amemory. OMGosh, love that stuff.

      Tomato sandwiches too, but I got distracted thinking about fudge. Grins.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Happy Halloweeeeen, everyone!!!

    • Deb says:

      I hope you had a good one, Jeanne! I didn’t pass out candy this year; I had to take my daughter to a bonfire the next town over. I loved all the cute costumes I saw from printout the window; a lot of Elsas, a little bumblebees, a little lamb, and my own little grandson was Mickey Mouse. My favorite treat, besides chocolate, is pumpkin anything. 🙂

  • To answer some of your questions…I dressed up as Wonder Woman. Very fun! Since I don’t’ eat refined or fake sugars, I make honey pumpkin cake this time of year. YUM!

    And, I’m really looking forward to joining you and Barbara Devlin in the liar on November 13 to discuss friendship and our novellas in A Jewel in Time: A Sultry Sisters Anthology that launches exclusively on Amazon the next day…Nov 14.