Who would have thought that a culinary dish made famous for many Americans by an animated movie would be good for you?  Ratatouille (rat-a-too-we), a french dish, is nothing more than tomatoes, garlic, onions, courgette, aubergine, bell peppers, marjoram, basil, sometimes bay leaf, and thyme.  Of course, the secret to its flavor is how the ingredients are combined when cooked. It is good for you simply because it is not only low in fat and calories, but also high in nutrients.

In the movie of the same name, the main character, Remy, is one smart rat.  He knows how to cook, he can communicate with humans without ever saying a word, and he can rouse his friends when they are needed to carry out an impossible task.  Remy has a brother.  His name is Emile.  Unlike Remy, Emile is a bit rotund, not exactly observant to the world around him, and seems to live for his next meal, rotten or sweet.  Emile loves Remy, but he does not understand him.  Why would Remy want to be anything other than a rat in a pack?  Why would he want to improve his life?  Why would he want to leave the gutter for a life in the world of humanity?

Curiosity is one possibility.  Sometimes rats, and some people, stick their heads out of the proverbial hole in the wall because they hear, smell or see something attractive.  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but at least he didn’t just give up and die in the dark.

Fear could be another motivator for a scared rat.  When Remy first ventured out into the real world, he had to dodge a lot of cars, bicycles and people.  Where I live, we do a lot of dodging in traffic, yet we overcome the fear of getting run over and we go onto work anyway.

But Remy didn’t leave the security of his rat’s life because he was curious or afraid.  Remy’s problem was desire.  Problem, you say?  Yeah, problem.  In today’s world, it can be problematic if you have a desire to do much of anything beyond what you are already doing.  In school and at work, most people seem to just want to get by.  They don’t have much desire to improve their situation, to do better, to get up and go, or to change their life at all.

Getting by has become the New American Dream.  When the numbers of persons depending on government assistance for their livelihood gets close to the number of persons working for a living, the problem, at least in part, is obviously desire. . .the lack of it.  If this rationale is true, and I believe it is, a number of other questions arise but let me ask just the most obvious, Why?  Why don’t people have desire anymore?  Why don’t people want to get up and get out to find a job, create one, or at least take care of what they already have?

Two reasons come to mind: an unwillingness to come under authority, likely because the authority figure(s) in their lives don’t understand the concept themselves, and lack of personal responsibility, likely because they have never been taught or witnessed others who hold the idea in high regard.

We live in a dependent world that is characterized more and more by a laissez-faire attitude.  Leave me alone to choose to do whatever I want, whenever I want. . .and I choose to do nothing.

Thank God, I wasn’t raised that way.  Everyone of us has a choice.  We can choose to be like Remy and do whatever is necessary to get the job done or, we can be like Emile and sit on our tushes waiting for the next morsel to fall from the table.

Ratatouille. . .think I’ll go cook some.


Published by tsideqah

Retired pastor, husband for 48 years, granddad to 4 amazing kids

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