The Crazy Suburban Mom: What's in my pantry for dinner? Hamburger...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What's in my pantry for dinner? Hamburger...

I was really tired last evening and no one was home. My son was at work and my partner was on an elder-parent-doctor-mission... I had a blessed few moments to... well, to do nothing.

Just as I plopped down on my bed and closed my eyes my boy called me to say he forgot his money, he was hungry and when he came home he would be starvin

Gosh, I was tired but I knew he had no money; he told me he forgot his wallet when I dropped him off and the guilts got the better of me for not bringing him his wallet.

And than I remembered the hamburger meat sitting in the frid
ge. I'd bought it right after I dropped him off (sans wallet) with the intention of making him a meatloaf because a day ago he told me, "The best food is a meatloaf sandwich on white bread."

I'm shocked as usual when he says things like that because as far as I knew he'd never eaten meatloaf. The boy is a picky eater. I mean "P"icky with that capital "P" there... He spent the first 12 years of his life eating Boar's Head low salt bolo
gna on white bread (crusts and bologna skin cut off) every day for lunch. Every day.

A few years ago the local store stopped selling Boar's Head Brand. Oh the unbelievable horror of that time. Eventually, after many failed sandwich attempts ("Ma, the bread was good but what was that brown stuff?") we tried to do an Iron Chef bologna one night. We made 12 little sandwiches with different meats and bologna brands trying to find a substitute. He took a bite of each, chewed, and ran to the sink to spit.

No winner in Iron Chef bologna. And I have the video.

But as he's gotten older and eaten at friends houses, new foods have appeared in his life. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to add one so I got out of bed and hauled out the ground mea
t and the recipe I've been wanting to try.

It's called Meat Loaf (That's it, just meat loaf. Don't you love how simple and all-encompassing that is?) and its on page 431 of the 1963 version of The Joy of Cooking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine and shape into a loaf:

1 lb. ground beef (half of this may be pork)
2 T chopped parsley
1 egg yolk

1 T soft butter
1 t bread crumbs
1 t lemon juice
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t onion juice

Place loaf in a lightly greased pan. Bake it for an hour.

Pour some over the top and baste at intervals with the remainder of:
1/4 c butter
1 c vegetable broth or 1 c water and half packet of dried soup mix

I tested the internal temp at an hour and it was 162 degrees and rising. Which is great - gives it time to rest.

The result was a dense meatloaf that I liked very much. I thought it needed a bit more salt but that might be because I used Janes Krazy Mixed up Salt instead of real salt. I love Jane's Krazy Mixed up Salt and use it all the time! It's unbeatable on popcorn.
After all these years I realize I don't know who Jane is so I
just went to her website. This is Jane's story:

Jane's story began in a modest kitchen in a small apartment in Overbrook, PA. She was a rosie-cheeked grandmother-type who was busily mixing batches of salt, pepper, herbs and a few secret ingredients. She wanted to make her cooking go a little faster and make gifts for friends and relatives. Her energy and zest for life helped her turn her hobby into an international food sensation.

Jane told the World News, Roanoke VA, in 1971, "I don't feel anyone should actually retire, but should keep busy meeting people. When you start a business at sixty like I did, you realize that age is not important. It's the enthusiasm." Jane was a one-woman marketing machine. When she wasn't buttonholing customers right in the supermarket, she'd be approaching mom and pop delicatessens and making sure her seasonings were seen and tasted. The unstoppable Jane toured the country and the world demonstrating and telling everyone about her salt. Because of demands of Jane's loyal fans who wouldn't think of eating without her delicious seasoning, we have grown over the last thirty years.

Anyway - there are a lot more Krazy products now and if they aren't in your grocery store you can order them from Jane. What can I say about Jane's picture? Gotta love a woman in her 60's covered in birds, you know?

So this is my meatloaf all browned and moist on the outside. Inside was a denser meatloaf than newer recipes produce - without the pesky pieces (What's this thing?) and strong flavors many kids dislike so much. And the kitchen smelled like home. In fact my son said "What smells good?" when he came home. Always a much better question than the other version which is...

"What smells?"


Because his idea of meatloaf is a few slices tucked between white bread, I made the whole thing a no brainer for him. I cut some up, lightly toasted some white bread and added one of the three vegetables he will eat, celery. I set the ketchup there and told him I made it just for him and if he doesn't like it, please eat it anyway. Just use a lot of ketchup... And than I went upstairs and waited to hear the full plate hit the sink.


But I didnt hear that. In fact in about 20 minutes my son came upstairs and
told me it was the best meatloaf he ever had. And while I know it's only the second meatloaf he's ever had... I was still very touched.


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