The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #80459   Message #1467045
21-Apr-05 - 11:36 AM
Thread Name: BS: Lessons Learned from Mom
Subject: Systematic Meatloaf for Adults
What are the great life lessons you learned from your mom, just because your mom was being herself?

For years I had to call my mom to have her tell me, again, how to make that great meatloaf. Everytime I wanted the formula, I couldn't find it. Every time I cleaned out a drawer, I found six copies. I never did learn that before making meatloaf I should always sort the junk drawer!

Eventually I got married and got ready to move far from home. She presented me with two framed recipes for my kichen-- meatloaf and tapioca pudding. (Alas, not the rice pudding.) I hung them up, and I used the meatloaf recipe many times. The texture was never quite right, but the taste was fine.

When we had our house fire (2000) the cleaners broke the frame. It's around here somewhere waiting to be fixed, and the recipe is still in it. Tapioca is still up there, and I have still never made tapioca. (It never occurred to me to swap frames!)

I continued to make meatloaf from time to time. I varied it. But it never felt right.

One day I got disgusted with myself. "Susan, you are over 50 years old. Take charge of the damn meatloaf, and develop your own!"

(Oh! I'M in charge of my own meatloaf????)

Well beef is quite expensive this year, and we could be having a lot more meatloaf, know what I mean? I did bulk cooking when the kids were home (3 simultaneous growth spurts). So.... I SHOULD be up to the job...

So I looked at online recipes to get a sense of the range of proportions, wet/filler/ground meat. I set to work. I got rid of annoying mismatched pans (found them good homes). Hardi bought me four very nice and expensive pans. Once I got the formula close, I decided to use the FOOD PROCESSOR to blend the meat in better. (Revolution in full swing!)

So now, I'm enjoying the sandwich cut from the 6+ pounds I made today assembly-line, but not quite bulk mode. It's a lot like mom's, but it's mine. The pans were not quite full enough to fit the bread size we use. I'm going for one of those 10-lb. tubes of beef next time. But I have 5 lbs of really nice meatloaf, frozen in dinner-for-two size portions.... and I cut it all up in the GLASS baking dish I put it in, so my nice NEW pans would last forever-- the dish with the LID for easy serving. (Hey, that's HER glass dish she passed along to me....).

Suddenly I am recalling that my mom would often say, in a kind of crazed mode, "Oh goodie! I have a SYSTEM!!" We'd smile patronizingly and think how strange our mom was.

Of course she was right. You need not only a PRODUCT, but a SYSTEM, and to be AWARE of what they are, for a LOT of things.

Her system was to call home from work and remind us, after school, to put the meatloaf in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees. She'd have made up one panful in the AM before we all got up, and when she got home she'd make the side dishes. We had a great meal every night, without a lot of fuss, and she worked HARD as a single mom. We never got to help her cook, so I missed what I might have learned if she'd shown me how, herself; but damn if I wasn't making meatloaf today bright and early!

Thanks, Mom!