Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Tradition, At Least With Us

When I go home to visit my mother, one of the first things she asks is, "What would you like to eat?" Certain kinds of food are tradition in some families. My mother is a great cook and I'll eat pretty much anything she makes. When Carole was younger, mom made pot roast. Carole's dad liked the way my mother made that dish. My answer to the inevitable question is usually, "I like whatever you're going to make, mom." She's made some great things in recent years, things I wouldn't have probably tried.

I asked the same thing of Carole when the date grew close for her trip back. "Is there going to be time for me to cook dinner? If so, is there something you want?" While their weekend was stuffed to the gills, there was Friday night and that night revolved around Italian Meatloaf.

Essentially, all this is is meatloaf with shredded mozzarella cheese in the center, rolled up in a log. Oh there's more oregano than you'd put in a regular meatloaf and the binder is crushed saltine crackers. You also add a third of a cup of tomato sauce to the meat and bake the thing for an hour. After an hour, you take it out and pour 2/3 cup of sauce over the top and bake it again for 15 minutes. Fragrant and simple, it's been a staple of our family for decades. It represents home.

To this, I added cottage fries and Green Giant niblets corn.

It took an hour and a half to get everything assembled and on the plates. Even with us eating our fill, I have two meals of leftovers and this is the perfect meal to take to work for lunches.

Sometimes I think I want to try something new or cook something different. But then I realize that sometimes, the familiar is what's called for. They had traveled for 13 hours, slept for 4 and spent the afternoon running around to see people. Carole hadn't been in Wheaton for almost 3 years. Things change. Having a well-loved meal in one's former home brought comfort.

Food does that.

Beverage:  Huckleberry tea


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