Monday, November 9, 2009

Meatloaf and charred food

Much as I'd like to pretend they aren't, the holidays are around the corner. Everyone's familiar with the new wife story of burning the first Thanksgiving dinner with the in laws or some such cliche, right? Well, tonight was the 30 year old, 5 years married version: the burning of the first meatloaf dinner.

What's that, you say? You've never made a meatloaf? As I believe I've mentioned, Darling Husband has bad meatloaf memories/associations (as well as barbecued ham, sloppy joe's and anything else that seems to have ketchup as a main ingredient). Therefore there will not be a night when I say, "What would you like for dinner?" and he says "MEATLOAF!" Nor is there likely to be a night where I say, "Would you like meatloaf or stir fry?" and have him pick the former. As such, I never made a meatloaf. It wasn't something my mom made often, so it wasn't something I missed or craved.

Still, I was inspired by my mom's meatloaf she made a couple months back and heartened by the fact that Darling Husband ate it with good graces. It didn't have the ketchup glaze he seemed convinced it would have, nor did it taste appreciably of the K word as a binder.

Tonight I made my first meatloaf. I used ground beef, crushed ritz crackers, a packet of onion soup seasoning (savvy readers will find this familiar), an egg, some "kickin' chicken" seasoning and white wine. I formed it into two small loaves and set them on top of a rack over a rimmed baking sheet, to allow maximum crust formation and minimize the loaf bathing in fat.

For side dishes, I cut some carrots into coins and put them in a sauce pan with some ginger ale and a bit of sambol olek to reduce and glaze. Also, I made wild rice pilaf.

Where does the charred food come in? The smoke filled house? The tears?

Right here, folks (minus the tears. We were more stoic this evening.) They say Lucifer was cast out of heaven for his pride, and for the same reason my side dishes turned into fiery infernos. I was so blasted proud of myself for prepping the whole meal in the 20 minutes I could reasonably spare between work and picking up Baby Girl from daycare that I let myself get cocky. I set the water to boil for the rice, popped the loaves in the oven and got the carrots heating just before taking Baby Girl up to bed. I asked Darling Husband to peek in at them when he was done reading stories to her.

The next thing I know, he's telling me that the pan for the water has boiled dry and begun to burn, and the carrots are a tarry, charred, carbon mess. Whoops. I guess my brilliant plan isn't so brilliant. Fortunately, the meatloaf was fine. Multi tasking doesn't work. Studies say that, and so does the news and yet still I believe I am the one person on earth who can competently juggle things and not get, ahem, burned.

On the plus side, I was able to re-make the rice and found some peas and edamame in the fridge. Dinner was saved. As for the meatloaf? Well, Darling Husband had seconds. I think that speaks for itself.

1 comment:

  1. Several years ago my wife made the best meatloaf I had ever tasted. I raved, she blushed, we were happy. The next time she made meatloaf I asked if it would be the same as last time. Alas, she said, she did not remember how she had made it last time. Since she cooks from instinct and feel rather than from a recipe, there was no going back. Now, don't misunderstand me; she makes very good meatloafs. They are just different, one from another. But, I am still hoping for that perfect one again. I suppose it keeps getting better and better in my mind as reality fades with time.