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The Unnatural Cook

a chronicle of weekly meal plans from someone who can't just throw a meal together

Writing an unsatisfying post is like eating an unsatisfying meal: it has to be done but it is vaguely disappointing. What to do about a night like last night if you are compulsive enough to write every night but not inventive enough to find something, really, to say?

The best thing is to write better the next day, satisfy the intellectual taste buds with heartier fare. Will meatloaf do?

The first time I made meatloaf for my husband (long before he was my husband, I imagine) I made it the way my mother did: flat. My mother liked her meat well done enough that it could be fairly called burnt. So when she made meatloaf she would make a loaf and flatten one end into a thin rectangle, like a small padded envelope, just for herself. After my father and older sister had both left the house, my mother and I stopped bothering with the loaf part because we both preferred the caramelized, slightly blackened taste of our flat loaf. We ate it this way for so long that when I made it for my husband it didn’t occur to me it was a strange thing to do. He was mildly horrified by the result and it was one of those times when I was forced to look back on my childhood at something that seemed perfectly rational and normal and say, “Oh, was that weird?”

So I’m back to loafy meat loaf although I suspect I’d still love it flat. I’ve adapted my mother’s recipe only slightly, adding one egg and some breadcrumbs because otherwise, in its loaf form, I can’t cut the slices without them falling apart. I also added bacon because, as porkfest demonstrated, there’s nothing that can’t be improved by adding little pork.


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