I missed the memo about how to make a kick ass meatloaf.
I mentioned previously that meatloaf was a mainstay of my diet as a youngster, and I coincidentally married a man who gets unnaturally excited when meatloaf is on the menu. Needless to say, it’s sort of a religion to me. My meatloaf recipe is a closely guarded family secret involving Colby Jack cheese and green olives…and I’ll either hand it down to my daughter if I ever have one, or I will take it to my grave.
Growing up, my mom made meatloaf in a loaf pan and it never occurred to me to do it any differently. Then, I met Alton, and meatloaf-wise, he literally turned my world upside down:
And with all due respect to my dear mother, cooking meatloaf upside down and out of the pan is a vastly superior technique. You get more of that crusty goodness on the outside, especially when you coat the whole thing in a mixture of Heinz ketchup and French’s mustard (oh crap…I’ve said too much…) Comfort food at its yummiest.
I had lived most of my life as a slave to meatloaf convention, but now I can think outside the loaf pan. In addition to enjoying better meatloaf, I can also say that this revelation clues me in about a couple of things:
First, “traditional” does not equal perfect and traditions can be improved upon. No offense, Mom, but my meatloaf kicks your meatloaf’s ass.
Second, sometimes it makes sense to turn something upside down. Or backwards. Or inside out. Ever accidentally put a shirt on backward and figure out that you like it better that way? There’s no one perfect way of doing anything and sometimes rejecting the conventional way turns out to be what’s perfect for you.
So meatloaf as metaphor for non-conformity? Why not! Memo received.
© 2011 Jamie Walker Ball