April 23, 2012

Meatloaf...I Feel the Love!

When I was sick as a child, my mother always put me in their bed. I would spend the morning watching Captain Kangaroo, with Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Green Jeans and Grandfather Clock. She would bring me breakfast in bed, homemade oatmeal with sugar, a sliced banana in milk or an egg on toast. I also would be served cold ginger ale which I thought was an adult cocktail, like a hot toddy my grandmother would drink when she had “ailments, like the rheumatoid!” In the afternoon, she would take my temperature and bring me a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup just in time for afternoon cartoons. By evening, I had been comforted by her loving touches and attention and was feeling somewhat better. Daddy would come home just in time to tuck me into bed. This was my sick day.

When I became a mother, I brought my children who were under the weather in our bed, continuing what Mother and Daddy had started. It seemed to be natural. It seemed to provide comfort and magical healing powers. Those foods represent comfort to me.

Which brings me to the thought of the day…comfort……and food…..what is comfort food to you? In the South, it’s what we call our food…..southern comfort food. The reason I am even discussing this is the result of a conversation Darling and I were having the other night. We talked about Maine, and how many of the restaurants prided themselves on Haute' Cuisine. We learned, we are not Haute' Cuisine people. Not that there is anything wrong with that, BUT, it’s just not for us.

We yearned for gulf seafood. Big spicy gulf shrimp and oysters, served with saltine crackers, hot sauce, horseradish and a cold beer! When you had oysters in Maine, they were small, served on a small white tray, three varieties, with no crackers or sauces. Hmmmmm….I am not feeling the hug here!

 Most of the dinner plates were odd shapes, cold, white, stark, square or rectangle. You know the shape is important, right? A round dinner plate is visually wrapping you in a hug….it’s true. A square or a rectangle is not wrapping you in comfort….it’s holding you at arm’s length as if it was making a statement, like, “don’t get to close, no touching, please! We are edgy!”

So, we both decided, “Hey! Now I get it! Wherever you go, in the south, comfort food is earthy, usually full of carbs and served on a round dinner plate!” Barbecued ribs, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, meatloaf, baked chicken smothered in gravy or fried chicken with fresh green beans and new potatoes, potato salad (passed down from your Grandmother), cheese grits, cobblers, pies, banana pudding and fresh coconut cake…all giving you a big ole hug….saying “I love you…I’ll take care of you…..I’ll protect you and give you warmth!” Yes, we are comfort food southern people and I would not have it any other way!

Mississippi Meatloaf
2 lbs.ground chuck
2 large eggs,slightly beaten
3/4 c.quick cook oatmeal
3 pieces of white bread
1/2 cup milk
1 envelope Lipton beefy onion soup mix
1/2 cup onion,finely chopped
1/2 t.dry mustard
1 T.Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c.water
1/3 cup ketchup
1 celery stalk,chopped fine
1/4 t. each of salt and pepper

3/4 cup ketchup
2 t. prepared mustard
1 T. brown sugar

Mix all together and form into a loaf.
Spread sauce over top and bake 45 minutes covered
Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer at 350 degrees F.

1 comment:

  1. You have put your finger on the pulse of the South in today's post Betsy! As much as I love to eat at good restaurants, that's not how I cook at home. Most of the time it's comfort food that we go back to time and again! Wonderful recipe, will have to treat ourselves to meatloaf this week while we are having "Blackberry Winter!"


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