Thursday, January 17, 2008

I used to hate meatloaf

The above image is of the book "A Very Special Me." It was a gift from my parents on my 8th birthday. Look what i found on page 25.

When I was a little girl I hated meatloaf. I wasn’t a super finicky eater, but I hated meatloaf. Meatloaf and fish sticks. I would cry when my mom announced we were having either for dinner, but especially meatloaf. It just sounds gross. What kid wants to eat a loaf of meat, and then there was like soggy bread in it and ketchup all over the top, and then onions. Yuck. Oooh, I just remembered, I also really hated cooked carrots that for some reason were covered in maple syrup. And, and bologna, especially the bologna with the bits in it, and Jell-O with bits in it, really anything with bits in it. I will never do that to my children.

But, back to the meatloaf; If there was a certain food that I absolutely hated (like meatloaf or fish sticks) when I was a kid, I am now determined to try it again as a grown up and see if I have changed my mind. So far, I have changed my mind about brussel sprouts (recipe to come), green olives, tomato juice and meatloaf (I still hate fish sticks). Actually, here is a list of foods I hated as a child. I’m putting an asterisk by the ones that I have been able to remove from this list.

Foods I hated as a child:
Fish sticks
Salad dressing* (yes, even ranch)
Waldorf salad
Jell-O with fruit inside
Salisbury steak
Brussel sprouts*
Black licorice
Tomato juice*
Corned beef hash

Now, really, back to meatloaf: A few years back I decided it was time to try to move meatloaf off of the “foods I hated as a child” list (known from this point on as just, the list). I heard that a diner in Beverly Hills had great meatloaf, turkey meatloaf in fact and that sounded totally doable. So I did, and it was great, and it didn’t taste anything like the 70’s meatloaf I had once hated. You know foods that kind of taste or even look like the 70’s? Salty, mushy, grey, etc.; Well this was no such food. This meatloaf was very 21st century, and on that day, in that diner, I decided to let meatloaf in. I promptly went home and crossed it off the list.

So last Tuesday, out of nowhere, I got a serious craving for meatloaf. “I’m gonna cook meatloaf tonight,” I said to myself, but not just in my mind, I actually said, out loud (although no one else was in the room, or even within earshot), “I’m gonna cook meatloaf tonight.” I searched every cookbook I had for the perfect meatloaf recipe, but found nothing inspiring. I hopped on the internet and found a great recipe, but I still wasn’t 100% sure, so I called my friend, Carin, to see if she had any good recipes. She said, “Yes, I have a great one, “ and then referred me back to the recipe I had just found. I had to make a couple of minor tweaks, (remove mushrooms & add prosciutto to the top) and then I was off. I called my husband and my brother (my two loyal and kind food testers), and told them we were having meatloaf for dinner. They both sounded really excited, which was a surprise to me. I guess not everyone hated meatloaf the way that I did. Within an hour, dinner was served, and let me tell you, it was the best meatloaf I have ever had, and the testers agreed. Cooked perfectly (which was a bit scary, since I am never really sure when things like that are done and I don’t really want to cut it in half to check), not dry at all and topped with the yummiest, crispiest prosciutto. Comfort food at it’s best.

The moral of the story, every once and a while it’s good to let things in.

Turkey Meatloaf
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Arugula salad with balsamic cumin dressing (no real recipe here for the dressing. i do equal parts good olive oil & balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin)

more about meatloaf:


Lisa said...

aww, i liked this post. letting things in--a good thing, most of the time.

i also say things out loud to myself when no one is around and they are usually similar to your exclamation: "i'm going to ___." loved when you wrote about that.


jen said...

thanks, lisa. it is a good thing to let things in, just not carrots cooked in maple syrup. not ever!

carrie said...

i'll have to give you another yummy recipe for a turkey meatloaf with layers of proscuitto and spinach. cooked carrots - my mom served cooked celery with that powdery "parmesean" cheese, but to be honest i kinda liked it.

g & h said...

meatloaf is the best comfort food. you made me want to make some meatloaf, jen! i'll let you know how it goes!


Sheila said...

I am new to your blog and really enjoy what I am reading!! I am on your same foodie path!! And I am not sure I can give meatloaf another try....I admire your moxie! And anything with bits in it is still off my food radar!! Thanks for the good reading!!

jen said...

hey carrie. bring on the loaf. sounds amazing! no cooked carrots.

jen said...

g. for sure. keep me posted. thanks for checking in on my blogs.

jen said...

sheila. thanks for reading. i promise to try and be funny in the future.

Cheryl A said...

I am going to try the recipe you posted, but for the record, this is my favourite recipe. No bits allowed.
I like the sticky sweetness on top, but it would probably give you bad memories. I've made it without, or with chutney on top as well. I might have to try proscuitto...

Anonymous said...

i loved your story on meatloaf. meatloaf and fish sticks were also on my yucky list. i would always go to my friends house for dinner when these disgusting things were served. ewwww.... if i couldn't make it to their house, i would just put the meatloaf in my pocket and go to the bathroom to flush it down the toilet.
you should try Trader Joes cod fish sticks. they are pretty good, and not stinky or fishy at all. just squeeze a little lemon, and maybe dip them in some ketchup. stella loves them.

jen said...

thanks to all for the great meatloaf recipes. i hope to try them all (although i am still a bit scared).

Jim A. said...

Great post! The writings of an 8 year old could warm anyone's heart. But unlike you at 8, I loved meatloaf! I'm surprised when I ehar people say they've always hated it! Although, I do agree with you on the "anything with bits in it" thing thats just gross.

jen said...

Hi Jim. Bits = Bad.