Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friends Help Friends Eat Meatloaf

I'll Be There For You by The Rembrandts
No matter how many friends a person has, there's always just a few who stand apart from the rest.  These are the friends who seem to outlast distance and time.  You don't have to be near to be dear.  I've been blessed with just such friends.  Today's post is about one friend in particular who heard past my declarations of self-sufficiency (aka stubborness) and rendered service at a much needed moment.  "I'll be there for you, 'cause you're there for me, too!"

I'm not the most graceful person.  One could argue that it doesn't stand to reason that I would be such a klutz, being that my center of gravity is so low to the ground and all.  This is a roundabout way of saying I am short - with short legs.  Nevertheless, my body always seems to be on a constant ground-seeking quest!  I trip and stumble.  I fall from ladders.  I slip on - well, anything really - ice, gravel, wet surfaces, dust.  No matter if everyone else seems to be traversing just fine, I find a way to introduce an element of danger into any passage. 

I recall an incident when I was in high school.  Our school stood way on top of a hill and, on this particular occasion, I slipped three times in a row coming down that hill - in the winter - legs flying out from under me, coat flying clear up over my head, taking my dress with it.  Three times in a row - and it's high school.  Just wanted to make sure you felt the full impact of the embarassment level here.

Slowly, I have come to accept this graceless side of myself.  The full test of this acceptance being several years ago when I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament, if you must know) while playing a dance game on our game system.  You were supposed to stand on this pad and match the steps on the TV screen.  I had it on exercise mode and had already completed the routine twice successfully.  It was that third time - you know, the one that's supposed to be a "charm" - that produced the snap, crackle, and pop that was to be known as my version of a "sports" injury. 

How do I explain to people that I tore my ACL while playing a game??  How lame!!!!  This is what they carry men off the field for in football games - where one would expect such injuries with everyone pushing and shoving and knocking each other over.  Not in your basement while . . . dancing!

I thought about creating a daring tale of how I was snow boarding or skiing moguls.  I tested the story in my head a few times.  Yeah - I didn't know enough about skiing of any kind to pull it off.  I would just look even more lame.  The more I thought about it, the more I knew I'd just have to finally come to grips with my clumsiness.  Own it!  Embrace it!

I messed around with my injury for a couple years until I finally decided to get it repaired.  The surgery was going to keep me "side-lined" for awhile.  My oldest daughter came home to help me out.  I thought she and my husband were being overly cautious because, despite my tendency toward accidents, I am a pretty tough cookie.  I was certain I could take care of everything myself.  But I did end up needing some help the first few days.  I hadn't broadcast my impending surgery so very few people knew about it.  One very dear friend did, though, and despite my protests that we didn't need any help, Dee showed up at my home with a beautiful meal.

I had just announced to my family that I wasn't hungry.  But my friend came walking past where I lay on the sofa with a meatloaf that smelled so so so good!  I didn't recognize it as a meatloaf at first because it wasn't shaped like the meatloaves I'd known in the past.  It wasn't a brick.  It was in a casserole dish!  So now, all of a sudden, I'm hungry AND curious!  She left and a feeding frenzy ensued.  The meatloaf was perfectly moist without being mushy.  It was firm but not dry.  The flavor was entirely lovely.  This meatloaf marched right on up to being one of the family favorites.   

I know that many people have hang-ups about this old-fashioned classic.  It gets a bad rap.  But I've always liked it.  After Dee's meal, though, I LOVE it!!  Seriously.  Try this recipe and give meatloaf a chance!  It's great for a meal and the leftovers make wonderful sandwiches!

Friends serve friends meatloaf.  It's true.

Printable Recipe Card
1 1/2 - 2 lbs ground meat
1 egg
1/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. oatmeal
3/4 c. milk
2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. marjoram
salt and pepper
1/3 c. ketchup
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. mustard
2 T. molasses

It's pretty straightforward.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the first nine ingredients - ground meat through salt and pepper - in a large bowl.  Mix until it is very well combined.  Traditionally, ground beef is used, however, you can use ground turkey, pork, lamb - or a mixture of two or more of them.  If you do use lamb, try adding a little ground cinnamon to the mixture to counter the flavor of the lanolin.

Spread the mixture evenly  into a 9x13 pan using a wooden spoon.  Using the end of the handle of the wooden spoon, poke holes into the top of the meatloaf spaced a couple of inches apart like this:

Next, mix together the topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over the top of the meatloaf and then spread out, making sure the sauce goes over and down the holes.

If you prefer, you can use a favorite BBQ sauce instead!

Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour 15 minutes.  Let sit for about five minutes before you try to slice it.  I like to make one cut, lengthwise, down the middle, and then make cuts crosswise, about one inch wide.  This is a nice size for when you use the leftovers on a hoagie bun for sandwiches!  Remove slices from the pan and serve from a platter.  So nice! 


  1. I got this recipe from you and it is one of Kate's favorites. Whenever I ask what she wants for dinner it is meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Thanks, now I know what I am making for Sunday dinner.

  2. This is going on my menu for next week!