This morning when Cliff was lying in bed sipping his coffee, I said, "I have a pound-and-a-half of hamburger thawed. I can make chili, or beef-and-bulgur casserole, or meat loaf. You choose."
He likes all the above, but I was pretty sure he wouldn't choose chili because we have it fairly often in the winter. I was betting on the meat loaf.
And that's what he started to say, until he remembered what beef-and-bulgur casserole is and began to waver.
"Cliff," I told him, "You don't have to decide this instant. I won't be starting dinner for three hours."
As I headed to the kitchen, he called after me, "Would we be having mashed potatoes with the meat loaf?"
Silly man. Don't we always?
So he made the choice I knew he would: meat loaf.
I was tearing up enough bread to make two cups of crumbs for the meat loaf when I suddenly recalled something I used to do when I was a kid.
Growing up, I was never denied access to the kitchen. Mother never told me, as I used to tell my children, "It isn't long till supper; you'll spoil your appetite."
So sometimes I'd get a nice, fresh slice of bread,
Then I'd take the soft, white bread that remained,
I don't know why I'm telling you this; isn't it funny the random memories that are stirred up in the kitchen?
The meat loaf recipe I use is not from my oldest Better Homes and Gardens cookbook; that version wasn't as good. This is from a BHG cookbook I acquired in the late seventies, and I notice they've repeated it in the newest edition, too.
(tested and approved by Cliff)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs or cracker crumbs, or two cups soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tablespoons snipped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Sometimes, since my food processor already needs to be washed after making the crumbs, I'll throw a small carrot or sweet pepper in there and pulverize it, and add it to the mix. Vitamins, you know. I didn't do that today.
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
Combine eggs and milk. Stir in crumbs, onion, parsley, salt, sage and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. bake in 350 degree oven for 1 1/4 hours. Spoon off excess fat, spread topping over meat and cook for 10 more minutes.