When I think of meatloaf, I think of country cooking, family dinners, mashed potatoes, my grandmother’s macaroni and cheese, and all things warm and familiar. Meatloaf has that comfort food feel that takes me back to my youth. My grandmother had a huge black cast-iron wood stove in the basement that she used not only to warm her home, but she also cooked on its two levels. That unfinished basement, with its cement floors and earthy smell, played host to countless incredible home-cooked meals of fried chicken, biscuits, okra, chicken and dumplings, potato cakes, green beans, cornbread, cabbage, and cobblers. I could go on and on…
My grandmother could leave the garden where we were all working to dig up potatoes and harvest corn and beans, and, in what seemed like mere minutes, she would holler for us all to come eat. The bounty she prepared in minimal time was no less impressive than any of the seven wonders of the world. And, the assortment of food was always imaginative, hot, and delicious. I never did figure out how she could provide such a variety in so little time. Plus, I didn’t pause to ask questions; I was too busy making sure I ate my fill.
Those were wonderful times – the type of wonderful that you don’t realize until years down the road.
I would give anything to be driving home from basketball practice just one more time to see the lights on in my grandmother’s basement, my mom’s and brother’s cars both pulled snugly up to the basement door, because then I knew dinner was on the table, and we were eating at Ma Ma’s house. There was no kitchen so amazing, even though it was nothing at first glance but a dusty basement with no furniture save an old, large metal table, six chairs, and a cupboard for our plates and flatware. But more than go back again, I wish I could give my last dinner in Ma Ma’s basement to my son so that he could experience the hearty smells, the sounds of love and sharing, and the feeling that there is no more precious place on Earth.
I hope when he looks back on his childhood one day that he will recall with pensive nostalgia family laughter, meals that brought us together, and love beyond measure.
From start to finish, this recipe will take approximately 1 hour 25 minutes.
2 lbs. 93% lean ground beef
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion Soup Mix
1 cup crushed Zesta whole wheat saltine crackers
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup ketchup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients.
Shape meatloaf into bread loaf pan.
Bake 70 minutes.
(Optional) Top with ketchup.