Friday, September 9, 2011

Meatloaf is a No-Go

The last week has been spent battling a new request for "normal" food from my husband and my growing aversion to... normal food. I have a few dishes that are more nostalgic than "favorites" -- tuna sandwiches, the occasional pot of mac'n cheese (and even then, I am compelled to sprinkle blue cheese crumbles in it) and a good, stacked ham sandwich. As I started to think it over, I don't make things like spaghetti, lasagna or meatloaf. I don't make meat-and-potato combinations very often. We had one of Rob's work friends over for dinner a few weeks ago, and I managed to crank out a version of the lavender honey chicken from a few weeks ago -- sans the lavender -- with some garlic mashed potatoes... that I also snuck parsnips into. And get this: I made gravy. I shocked even myself.

I also don't make very many things twice. I enjoy dishes for the food experience they offered me at that moment, and then I move on. I am the same way in restaurants. The few things I have made more than once can be counted on one hand: California rolls, hummus and my friend Marie's fish tacos. In fact, I made these just last night and consumed the last of them for lunch today. These are light, small and I can eat 10-12 of them in one sitting. With the adobo, cilantro, garlic and lime, these embody almost everything I love about a good dish: texture, flavor, aesthetics and zip.

With that, I must say that I won't turn down a "normal" meal nor am I saying that traditional recipes or methods of cooking are bad. I just prefer to do it a little differently, is all. If my grandmother placed a plate of meatloaf in front of me with a dime's worth of ketchup, I'd eat it and wouldn't say a word. And I'd scrape all the "scraps" together at the end and eat them in one big bite -- just like I was taught -- even if it meant that last bite had meatloaf, Jell-O and gravy in it.

The dress is still in progress. I hope to have more pictures of some assembly soon. Somebody finally discovered the drawers on my craft chest... Nothing is safe now.

Happy Friday to everyone. :)


  1. It was only a matter of time for those drawers; Finn is the son of two very curious people.

    Did I ever tell you about the time I made fish tacos, and I decided to just dump in the rest of the bottle of tequila? Let's just say there's a reason for measurements (sometimes), and when it comes to tequila--less is more. I always start the story with "Did I ever tell you about the time we all got drunk eating fish tacos?" Any story that starts like that HAS to be good.

    Still, those fish tacos will always (henceforth and forever) make me think of you, me, and our little black dress party.

  2. "From Scratch". It is a term that we (us splendid table types) do not use often. When asked if I made a dish from scratch, my immediate reaction is one of befuddlement. "Of course I did. Who doesn't make things from scratch?" The answer will always be, the person who asked the question.

    When you are of the mindset to personally create each element of a dish without the aide of mixes, blends or sometimes even recipes, the idea of "from scratch" is farthest from our minds. In the very rare occasion that I do use a prepackaged mix I feel as if I've cheated and refuse to take credit for the outcome regardless of quality. Only when I add my own touch will I happily take credit.

    People who repeat the same dishes over and over again, like that awful cheese & beef dip in the crockpot every time my office has a food fest, do not posses the passion, concern or perhaps the experience to create something unique. As this demographic makes up the majority of people, we are raised on the simple "comfort" foods and thus these are the meals that people often crave.

    Like in many areas of life, you have to open yourself to new ideas and the more you do, the easier it becomes and the more you will find. Not everyone does. Count yourself lucky to be in the minority.

    I completely agree with your gastronomy experimenting. I am the exact same way, as you well know. I see something I want to make, I accept the challenge, usually it turns well... then I move on. I too only have a handfull of recipes that get used repeatedly. And so far, Pizza is the only thing I've tried perfecting.

    While My Drunk Kitchen does not endorse opening statements, detailing why you should give a fuck about the recipe, I find them to be a huge motivating factor in selecting a recipe. The more excited I am to make something the better it turns out.

    Anzac Biscuits are one of my favorite cookies, ones I've made many times before, this weekend in fact. As legend has it, these cookies were created during WWI by Australian and New Zealend woman shipping care packages to their fighting men. Lacking eggs and requiring a long shelf life, these chewy morsels fit the bill.

    My suggestion to you is to find historically and culturally relevant comfort foods, vintage vitals if you will, to help peak your interest in the "meat-and-potato" dishes. You currently live in Montana which has it's own version of the Pasty, I believe the diced potatoes are what sets it apart. This dish was created as a hearty packed lunch to send down into the mines. Perhaps you can start there. Sometimes a good story is all you need.