Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I love to cook! I get excited to cook. I know I'm a good cook. I can cook just about anything from country to gourmet, from Italian to French, from a recipe or from my own made up dishes. I love to cook! Unfortunately I cannot cook meatloaf to save my life.
Everyone has that dish they call their own. It's one of their signature dishes that always starts with a "My". "MY" Mac & Cheese, "MY" spaghetti sauce, "MY" meatloaf. And you know it's good because you always get a request for that dish at every pot luck or bring a dish to pass party. Bring "YOUR" baked beans, ooooo will you make "YOUR" pasta salad. Sadly I've never heard "how about making me YOUR meatloaf". No one wants MY meatloaf. And I am okay with this. I can and have and will continue to admit meatloaf mayhem.
There is only one teeny tiny problem with my inability to form meat and veges and spices into a loaf...it's that meatloaf is my husband's all time favorite dish. Of course it is. Why couldn't he just love linguine with a white-wine sauce, why couldn't he settle for seared scallops with a balsamic reduction, why can't he just be happy with vege burgers? Nope, he loves loves loves meatloaf and I am so thankful that he loves me in spite of my meatloaf inadequacies. Although I'm certain that if I ever serve up a perfect meatloaf I could convince him to buy me something shiny.
I've tried everything to make perfection in a loaf pan. I've tried countless recipes, I've tried making up my own mix, I've bought the very best meat combination, I've watched food network, I've scoured the Internet, I've consulted with friends & family and I still come up short. The key, according to Alton Brown, is don't over-mix the meat. (I'll pause for a moment while you make a joke about how I handle the meat). The key, according to Rachel Ray is to start with fresh ground meat from your butcher. (of course) Other less famous yet equally yummy foodies say "use your hands to mix it" (Um, ewwww) "try adding a little of this and less of that" (yeah, been there done that)
You can ask my husband he laughs every time we have meatloaf for dinner and he will tell me what is good about it and what could be better about it and sometimes he just tells me to order a pizza. On one of our date nights we made a list of what we loved about the other. He wrote "the way you always try to make me meatloaf". Key word here was TRY. It has become our thing...him loving meatloaf and me trying to satisfy that love. They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, I imagine I've broken his heart a hundred times over with MY meatloaf.
It has become part of my quest in life. To perfect this dish. My madness. My meatloaf madness.