On Hunks of Meat (and other nostalgia)

20 Mar

Yesterday at the grocery store I decided on a whim to make meatloaf for dinner. I usually plan these things ahead of time, research various recipes and make a detailed list that’s separated by areas of the store.

That makes me sound impossibly anal, but I promise you I’m not.

Meatloaf is one of my very favorite things in the world. And of course, my Mom’s recipe is the best. It’s partly the history, remembering eating meatloaf and potatoes after church on sunny Sunday afternoons, indulging in long naps afterward. It probably also doesn’t hurt that a giant slab of meat, no matter how it’s cooked, is always in some way satisfying.

So I texted my mom. “Will you send me your meatloaf recipe?”

She texted back some of the ingredients, and said she’d send the whole recipe by email later.

It’s changed over the years. Time and health forced the change from all ground beef to half beef and half turkey, and the utterly delicious topping of ketchup and Karo syrup has diminished in volume. Other things have stayed the same. Canned mushrooms, for one. She ALWAYS uses only canned mushrooms. God only knows why.

I got the recipe in my inbox and it was as I remembered seeing in her notebook at home, though I honestly can’t ever remember helping her make it. It was always something that got done in the early morning hours before church and before my sisters or I was up.

I decided to make it today, instead of yesterday, because I had leftovers to eat, and because I needed a few more ingredients. At the grocery store again today I found myself endlessly walking the baking aisle, staring down the sugar section, not finding anything even resembling corn syrup. Can I use agave? I decided not to risk it, and texted my mother again, this time saying “Where would caro syrup be??”

I wandered around, waiting for her response and buying a few more items than were on my (mental) (GASP) list.

“Next to pancake mix”

“Or…other syups”

“Or baking ailse…or cereal aisle”

And my favorite of the bunch: “They like to move it around”

Her texts are always amusing. I found the syrup headed for the checkout (by way of the ice cream aisle. I’ll write about that later…) and headed home.

I have a habit of changing recipes. Usually it’s because of a lack of ingredients, but many times I just can’t help it. This is all a way of saying I changed my own very favorite recipe.


I used real mushrooms, you guys. I just. Couldn’t buy that little can of horrible. I couldn’t do it.

The final product was delicious and satisfying and wonderful. It wasn’t *quite* as good as my Mom’s but I have some ideas as to why. I’m going to try some new things next time.

At least now I know where the freaking Karo syrup is.


One Response to “On Hunks of Meat (and other nostalgia)”

  1. Raymond Berg March 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    Finally, another individual who finds the insanity of mothers to be entirely too amusing. This tale of meatloaf was a pleasure to read, to be sure.

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