Meat Loaf casts a long shadow over any discussion of meatloaf, so let’s just get it out of the way. The “that” in “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” is not what you think it is. It’s a lot less exciting. It just refers back to different promises he makes in the verses. For example, “I won’t forget the way you feel right now.” I know your own version was a lot dirtier and I’m sorry I ruined it, but there it is.
Now let’s talk meatloaf. I decided to make meatloaf because we had a ton of homemade ketchup left over when Elizabeth made some to make the last grilled burgers of the season a little more of an event. (The ketchup recipe, if you’re interested, was based on the one in The River Cottage Cookbook. It’s the second thing we’ve made from that and they’ve both been fantastic.) So we had a lot of ketchup on hand, but we hardly eat ketchup on anything, even though this homemade kind really makes you want to plan meals around it. And so- meatloaf, which I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve had in the past 20 years.
Meatloaf has a bad reputation, I think because it’s come to symbolize all the blandness and homogeneity of postwar cooking and because there was an ethos of really cooking the hell out of meat for so long, that people just think of it as being this dry, heavy brick. Also, the name. But, like fruitcake, meatloaf is due for a rehabilitation. It’s probably not something you’re going to make for a dinner party, but it has a lot of things going for it. It’s easy and quick. It makes a lot of servings, so you can reheat the leftovers. The ingredients are inexpensive and it tastes good.
Of course, meatloaf got its reputation for being really dry because a lot of them are really dry. To keep this one moist, I made it with a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground pork, thinking that the fattier pork would keep it from being too dry. That turned out to be right, and if you’re going to make it this way, I would advise using lean beef, because this one was almost not dry enough. Almost.
This recipe is based on the one from Mama Dip’s Kitchen, which is a great place to go for quick, simple recipes for the kind of dishes you can serve with Kool-Aid, and that’s something you really need from time to time.
makes about 8 servings
1 lb. ground beef (preferably lean)
1 lb. ground pork
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup milk
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Put it all into a loaf pan.
- Bake until it feels firm in the middle, about 45-55 minutes.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and maybe some more ketchup.