Go ahead, enjoy as much candy as you want

October 29, 1997|By Rob Kasper

HALLOWEEN IS one of my favorite events. It rewards pretending, often with chocolate. Talk about a great deal: You act out a fantasy and in return people give you candy.

As a big fan of Halloween, I am on the lookout for threats to the celebration. Lately, I think I have found two.

The first is excessive worry about kids eating Halloween candy. Researchers have proven that there is no scientific basis to the idea that when kids eat candy they become hyperactive monsters. Nonetheless, folks continue to believe the candy-makes-monsters story.

I suppose there are a number of explanations for this. Often this belief is part of a family's culinary lore. It has been passed down from parent to parent. And, of course, it is easier to believe than an alternative explanation. Namely, that the kid was a monster long before he ate any candy.

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to control what people think about Halloween candy. I believe that in America it is OK for some people to harbor such anti-candy sentiments, as long as they keep them confined to the kitchen. But if they try to put anti-candy sentiments into practice at the front door, there is trouble. For example, when people start giving out boxes of raisins or rice cakes to Halloween callers, I get riled.

The way I see it, when these pernicious purveyors of purity are handing out their so-called healthy treats, they are attacking the essence of Halloween. Halloween is supposed to be a time of revelry. It is supposed to give its participants a feeling that not only is there evil in the great wide world, there is also some in their little loot bag, usually in the form of a dozen candy bars.

By contrast, it is hard to revel in the company of a rice cake, to sin while toting a box of raisins.

Those of us who treasure the decadent nature of Halloween must take action to stop the dispersal of healthy treats. Parents must examine the loot their kids bring home on Halloween. For instance, if while sifting through his kid's loot, a dad finds a healthy treat, he should act quickly. First, he should quiz his kid until he finds out which quirky neighbor is passing out the contraband. Secondly, he should expose the offender to community scorn.

Only by taking this kind of decisive action can these anti-candy types and what they stand for be stomped into the ground. Think about it! One year your kid will come home with a couple of rice cakes. And unless you act, the next Halloween the kid could come home toting pamphlets on the many benefits of eating beans.

The other threat to Halloween I see is the increasing tendency to feed people pumpkin seeds. Each Halloween, more pumpkin-seed recipes appear in newspapers and magazines.

The trouble with most of these pumpkin-seed dishes is that they taste like pulp. Moreover, they don't inspire any bad behavior.

They do, however, get rid of those seeds that you scooped out of the pumpkin to make a jack-o'-lantern. And so I often fall victim to the very temptation I warn others against. I make pumpkin seeds and serve them to others. Here is my favorite pumpkin seed recipe. To fully appreciate the flavor of the seeds, you should first eat a couple of candy bars.

Pumpkin seeds

THE SEEDS:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (see below)

THE SEASONING:

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried leaf thyme

Combine all seasoning ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container. Yields about 2/3 cup of seasoning. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse pumpkin seeds, combine them with olive oil and a teaspoon of seasoning. Place on baking sheet and bake until brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. (Remaining seasoning can be saved for additional pumpkin seeds or for Creole dishes).

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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