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Family, Literature, Recipes



Dr. Gerald Keep, Annoyed Scientist, 11/20/2019

            First thing to realize is, if you’re going to have the oven on for over an hour, don’t waste it. You’ll want to roast some root vegetables along side the meatloaf.

            Set the oven to preheat to 350 and then decide what you’re cooking for sides.

The easiest is to scrub some potatoes, stab them maniacally with a fork, repeatedly, and throw them in before you start anything else. The bigger the spud*, the longer it takes, and even longer (or hotter) for sweet potatoes (which explode and drip – put on a cookie sheet). You might have to nuke them a bit later on, to get them soft enough.

Alternatives that require shorter times on a cookie sheet, can be prepped after the meatlof goes in the oven, but require some attention flipping with a spatula at half-time and taking them out when browned are potato wedges, butternut squash, or veggie sticks. Potatoes wedges are shaken in a Ziploc with olive oil, salt, pepper, maybe that gritty Montreal Steak stuff. Veggies can include spuds, carrots, onion, parsnips, green pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms (develop a meaty tough texture) whatever turns your crank – coat these with balsamic vinegar. Butternut squash is peeled (use the CUTCO™ peeler), cut in 1” cubes, and shaken in a gallon Ziploc with plenty of olive oil and herbs like basil and/or cinnamon and brown sugar.

So, to make meatloaf you need meat – between a pound and a pound-and-a-half. Ground turkey works well, as does sausage. Beef is traditional, but if you use high fat, you’ll get a lot of oil coming out. Likely you’ll have to defrost it in the microwave as you prepare everything else; break off the soft bits and throw the frozen core back in for more nuking.

Get a large bowl and survey the old bread, biscuits, or buns you’re worried about (using about 2 is best). Chop whatever you’ve got as fine as you can and put in the bowl. Stale French bread and KFC biscuits go into the freezer to save for exactly this use, and crumble nicely when chopped. Add a huge handful of oatmeal (two if you didn’t have any bread). One egg, no shells. A squirt of mustard. Season to taste — salt, pepper, Montreal Steak, garlic powder, curry, cayenne, herbs, cinnamon, whatever.

I put in a whole finely diced onion, now. Once upon a time a wife of mine insisted I pre-cook the onion because she didn’t like it slightly raw; too much of a pain – I used onion powder instead.

Small can of mushrooms (drained) is good. Never tried raw myself.

Also, HALF a can of tomato soup, saving the other half for topping. My step-grandmother Tommy used ketchup on top and it was better, but then what do you do with half a can of soup?

Mix it all up pretty thoroughly, and transfer to a loaf pan. We have a neat pan with a lift-out liner. They used to line pans with foil to improve release & clean-up but that was before microwaves wrecked havoc with bits of foil on reheat.

Cover the top with the second half of the tomato soup, sealing it like painting.

Some people put cool looking stuff on top like bacon (pre-cooked) or inside like a hard-boiled egg (which gets kind of tough, but looks neat if you slice it).

Bake the whole thing at 350 for one hour, don’t burn yourself getting it out, and enjoy!

Soak pans with hot soapy water before trying to scrub them – makes all the difference.

*SPUD comes from the acronym for “Society for Prevention of an Unhealthy Diet” – formed back when they didn’t know to carve off even the slightest hint of an eye, or bruise. (ref: Papa Ted).


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