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Mom’s Meatloaf – More Meat, Less Loaf

Headcheese
Image by Sifu Renka via Flickr

What is it about the addition of the word “loaf” that implies questionable food ripe for ridicule? 

Funky foods like chicken-loaf, fish-loaf, turkey loaf, ham-loaf  or the nauseating looking head cheese, usually conjures up images of chemically enhanced meats unnaturally shaped into either tubular or brick like form. These molded shapes make it a lot easier for the deli slicer to slice these quasi-foods for luncheon meat and/or other dishes. 

Just for the record, head cheese is NOT cheese. It is a cold cut originating in Europe where bits and pieces of meat from questionable origin are magically suspended in jelly. If you have ever seen this meat jelly  loaf at the deli counter, you know what I mean.

I may need to create another diet called the “Head Cheese Diet”.  Just look at it and your appetite magically disappears. In fact, I encourage you all to print the above picture and tape it on your refrigerator. Any time you are “joansing” for a little snack, just take a gander at the the picture of the head cheese. Witness the magic take place. 

Chinese Fishloaf or fish cake has got to be the worse. I sometimes get these bubble gum colored pink(!) little surprises floating on top of my soups. These circular pink and white rubbery disks are often added, I can only imagine,  for the sole purpose of decoration as clearly they bear no  resemblance to any fish I know of. Fish is not pink. Fish is not round. Enough said. 

Gefilte Fish is another loaf  I can do without. This traditional Kosher food is very popular amongst observant Jewish people. Some believe that its popularity is due to the fact that gefilte fish has no bones and therefore avoids borer  (selection/choosing) which is one of the 39 activities prohibited on the Shabbat. In all honestly, I have never sampled this Kosher delicacy. I just don’t like the looks of it. I like my fish fresh, not floating in a jellied broth in a jar on the shelf of a supermarket. 

The popularity of all loaves may be attributed to the “Feeding the Multitude”, which is the term used to refer to 2 separate miracles of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. In the first miracle “the feeding of the 5000”, Jesus was able to magically transform five loaves and two fish into enough food to feed his disciples and 5000 of his followers. In the miracle of 4000, he transformed seven loaves and fishes into enough food to feed the hungry crowd numbering in the 4000 range. According to the gospels, Jesus Christ was able to miraculously extend the quantity of the loaves to feed the masses. 

I am not sure if these miracles inspired the loaf phenomena however I do understand that when you add a little bit of protein to a lot of breadcrumbs and eggs the quantity of said protein multiplies. 

Last night I had dinner at my parents house where my mother made her famous bacon crusted meatloaf. Bacon is the secret (or not so secret – as it is called Bacon Crusted Meatloaf)  ingredient in many of my mothers and now my recipes. There is something about the salty smoky flavorful fat that renders most bland dishes into culinary pleasures. 

In this case, the football shaped meat loaf was criss crossed with strips of crispy bacon.  When asked about the amount of bread crumbs in the dish, she vaguely waved her hand and said “not too much”. The meatloaf was delicious, moist, flavorful and tender. It was definitely more meat and less loaf. 

We started the dinner off with champagne and caviar (zero carbs). Then proceeded to fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil and then the meatloaf with mashed potatoes. As we discussed the I Love Food Diet during dinner, no one touched the mashed potatoes. After feeding all eight of us, there was still plenty of left-overs and all of us were able to take home generous doggy bags. 

I love meatloaf, as long as it is made from MEAT and less loaf. 

Chow for now! 

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