Meatloaf

February 18, 2021

I did something yesterday that I never dreamed I would do; I ate a meatloaf sandwich.  While I love meatloaf, the thought of making it into a sandwich always seemed disgusting.  I do recall my dad eating meatloaf sandwiches on the rare occasions where there was any left, but I do not think anyone else in the family did.  When I mentioned my sandwich to Melissa, she said her dad ate meatloaf sandwiches as well.  Melissa also thought the sandwich sounded disgusting.  I have seen this delicacy on the menus of roadside diners I have stopped in along back roads.  It was usually accompanied by fried baloney and spam, also liked by my dad.  Perhaps it is a cultural thing.

I am not sure why I thought the sandwich would be bad.  After all, meatloaf is just hamburger (I like to mix in a half pound of sausage) mixed with onions, crackers for filler, and an egg (salt and pepper to taste and put ketchup on top if you are wanting a recipe).   I once asked my mom whether the crackers were used to hold the loaf together or were added by her to stretch the amount of meat she served.  I was assured it was in the recipe, and every recipe I have seen online includes crackers in the mixture (or breadcrumbs for the “upper crust”).  I used a ciabatta roll with mayonnaise, a slice of Colby cheese, and a pickle on the side for my sandwich (if you want a recipe).  The meatloaf sandwich was excellent. 

I recall going to a friend’s house as a boy and his mom served us lunch consisting of a cold hotdog with a slice of white bread.  I had never eaten a cold hotdog and usually had the warm dog served on a bun.  It did not taste much different than baloney, but it was not what I was used to.  After living as an adult in California for several years I came to visit my brother’s house in Kansas.  When lunch came around, he asked if I would like a sandwich.  I said, “Sure, I could take some ham.”  He responded that he did not have any ham, and that it was baloney or nothing.  Baloney had been my staple growing up in Kansas, but the baloney was not as common in California and costs even more than the processed ham.  By this time in life, I knew it was a cultural thing.

Thoughts:  We have all heard family stories about recipes being passed down from mother to daughter.  The first time I made meatloaf for Alex’s mom she asked where I got the recipe.  Since I rarely use recipes and she did not like things made without one, I told her it was a family recipe handed down from grandfather to grandson.  Had she known either of my grandfathers she would have known that could not have happened (neither cooked).  Her mother taught her to cook using recipes and I taught myself by trial and error.  Most of the problems we experience when interacting with another person or group come from the cultural differences we grew up with.   I have discounted meatloaf sandwiches my entire life.  When I ate my cold hotdog, when I ate the meatloaf sandwich, I found them not too different than what I was used to.  This often happens when we stop and enjoy the variety of life around us.  We find different does not have to mean bad.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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