Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meatloaf redux

Meatloaf, again.

I have never met a man who didn't like meatloaf (the dish). Why is that?

 I realize that the first answer that may come to mind is “Because it’s meat…in a loaf.” I know many men who don't like steak, or a nice roast. But they'll salivate over meatloaf everytime. “Because it’s comfort food? Most moms make it at some point.” True, meatloaf is in the pantheon of All-American comfort classics, but there's loads of different types of comfort food. And what one family considers comforting and boring, can be exotic to another family (like enchiladas or congee). Not every man likes spaghetti or mashed potatoes, or other classic Americana vittles.  Nor do all consider mofongo or musakka to be comfort food (I do). Though I'll cook meatloaf  (per request), my tongue finds meatloaf vile. It doesn't matter what meat it's made of, the recipe used, glaze or no glaze, method cooked, nor who made it. That doesn't mean I won't eat meatloaf (my parents taught me to be grateful for the food that's given to you.)

 So, I'm curious why everyman I've ever known in my life likes meatloaf. I've been told that "There's really nothing not to like about meatloaf." It's nothing special, not even usually made of good ingredients or with any particular care. The thought struck me, and I figured I'd put it out there. So I posted the question to the Facebook community. We all seem slightly dumbfounded (mostly by my dislike of meatloaf). And while most of my responders also have a soft, comfy bed of mashed potatoes in their heart for meatloaf to rest upon, I’m still a Grinch. Why do men (and women) love meatloaf?

I find that meatloaf is best the second day, after the June Cleaver worthy dinner. It’s used up slathered with sauces and thrown on bread for sandwiches by most, but I find it sings when taken away from it’s American roots.  Chopped up and tossed into chili, crushed  and sauced and used as taco filling, mixed with finely chopped veggies to fill Chinese dumplings, cubed into tomato sauce for a rip-off Bolognese, spiced and baked into empanadas, diced into Italian Wedding soup. I can redress a meatloaf any number of ways, yet my heathen still adores it dripping with barbeque sauce, with or without a slice of bread (or a plate).

What is it about meatloaf?

I put it to you, my dearest heathen-y reader. What's your favorite meatloaf (or meatloaf redux)? Can you convert me?