Jim Bradley

January 1, 1997

Post #571 – 19970101

Mr. Pinkwater,

Let me begin my stating that the next two paragraphs contain lavish praise for you and your writing, followed by my question. If you are too modest or humble you might want to skip to the end.

As an kid, I remember reading several books from the modest little library at my elementary school. Two of them to this day remain fixated in my memory. The first was a picture book in which a magician’s sissors flew across the pages cutting everything in it’s path – an old lady’s beehive, a fat man’s suspenders, and so on. The second was a curious little book called Fat Men From Outer Space. I remember reading this book and secretly wishing I too had a set of radio-teeth to fool my teacher with. My mother grew curious with my sudden and frequent requests that she make potato pancakes for dinner. But the one instant that I recall most vividly was when I finished the book and turned it over to look at your picture. There, wearing a plaid sportscoat, glasses, and (if memory serves correctly) holding a banana was the fat man from outer space. “They’re here.”

As an adult, I was surprized and thrilled when I first heard you doing commentary on NPR. I was developing negatives in pitch blackness, when a great story emitted from the darkroom radio. It was of your adventures in an antique store, with the Egyptian sarcophagus that you felt the uncontrollable urge to —– taste?

Since this experience I have tried to catch you on NPR as often as I can. My question is about one of your later NPR shorts.

As I have evolved into a rather portly adult (more due to genetics and my mother’s country cooking than your influence), I remember hearing you on NPR talking about your “Rat-tat-tooey” diet plan. I was rather excited about the prospect and actually made some “Rat-tat-tooey” later that week. I have however lost the recipe for “Rat-tat-tooey” and was hoping that you could give it to me once again. I am about to begin a new diet and exercise plan and would like to make “Rat-tat-tooey” a part of it.

Thank you and keep writing, were all better for it.

P.S.—Forgive me, but what is the correct spelling of Rat-tat-tooey?

Daniel replies:

I am still eating ratatouille at least once, (usually a couple of times), a day, along with many other things. The weight loss has slowed to a crawl, (I suppose I need to back off the second breakfast bagel), but I don't care--never did care about the actual poundage--I am pretty healthy, which is and was the point.