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Rat Patootie

Posted by Tom Benedict on 09/06/2014

Saturday evening the kids decided they wanted to see Pixar’s Ratatouille. The last time we watched it I vowed that I would make ratatouille before we saw it again. Of course I never got around to it, so Rydra and I figured an even better thing would be to make ratatouille so we could eat it while watching Ratatouille.

More traditional recipes for ratatouille are chunkier, closer to a vegetable stew. But the presentation of the ratatouille in the movie is so nice we decided to go that route. Lo and behold, while searching for recipes I found a Disneyesque ratatouille recipe on

We didn’t have all the ingredients, but as a friend of mine from Marseille explained years ago, most of French cooking has its origins in peasant food. It’s what I call “fridge cleaner cuisine”. You use what you have. What we had was some onion, garlic, copious amounts of zucchini, and red yellow and orange bell peppers. And… the dreaded mandolin slicer.

Several years ago our mandolin slicer decided I needed to be taught a lesson.


And teach me it did! Fingers are not carrots! Don’t take the thing lightly. Like ever! I’ve been terrified of the mandolin slicer ever since. I’d love to say that I learned respect from this experience and came to a good solid mutual understanding with it. But nothing could be further from the truth. I’m still scared of that thing. (I made Rydra slice the vegetables!) Ever since that wonderful learning experience Rydra has referred to it as “the finger slicer”. Me? I call it the Devil Tool.

The ratatouille turned out well.


So did the movie. It’s just as much fun to watch now as when it came out. And this time we had food to match!

– Tom

P.S. That was the first time I got to apply a pressure dressing. When I went back for my EMR refresher course a year later the instructor asked if we got to use our training. I explained about chopping the tip off my finger and applying the pressure dressing one-handed. One of the other guys in the class, the head of security at one of the resorts, said, “Only time I’ve had to use a pressure dressing was when one of the cooks cut the tip off his finger with a mandolin slicer!” Um… Yeah… When I explained that’s exactly what happened everyone got a good laugh.

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