Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How To Make Meat Loaf

Grow up in a house where meat loaf is eaten frequently and with gusto because it's one of the best things your mother makes after she finally settles on a recipe which does not involve Campbell's Alphabet Soup. (It is disconcerting to find noodle letters in your meat loaf.) It does involve Lipton's Onion Soup mix but it is good. Ann Landers made this recipe famous. 
Rightly so? Well, for the times, it was not bad.

Become a vegetarian when you are in college because you need to lose weight and also you've started going to a restaurant called Hanuman's Conscious Cookery which introduces you to foods and a way to eat which are beyond sublime and which is all (consciously) cooked and served by extremely conscious tranquil people wearing all white, including turbans. 
Also, another reason to become a vegetarian is to shove yet another wedge between your parents and yourself. Perhaps this is the most compelling reason.

Go on to become a hippie. Make skirts out of blue jeans and embroider them. Move back to Florida. Meet up with lots of musicians and lovely, crazy people who are building houses out in the boonies and who subsist mostly on beans and rice and collard greens. Be one of those people. Get pregnant and wake up one day craving meat like you could go wring a seagull's neck, pluck, and eat the bird.
Start eating meat again. Marry the baby daddy. Have a lovely baby. Move to the country. Raise a hog. Grow a garden. Bake bread and whole wheat stuff and have another baby.

Get fed up with the baby daddy.

Become a vegetarian again for many reasons, one of them which is to lose weight.

Divorce your husband for many reasons we shall not go into here. Get with a guy who is a vegetarian. Pretend you are blissed out for awhile. Move back to town. Go to nursing school. Get tired as hell of the vegetarianism and the guy. Mostly the guy. Kick his ass out. Start eating meat if you want to.

You are a single mother going to nursing school. Survive a major depression. Survive everything because you have no choice. Classes and clinicals and figuring out how to get your children to school and back and also custody issues and the worst loneliness you have never imagined and everything. Every thing. Including the horrible grief and guilt of your family being torn apart by you. Tell yourself repeatedly it was not your fault. Go to some therapists who DO NOT HELP AT ALL. Cry every night because your children's framework and very foundation have been torn apart.

It is all yours to survive.

Begin to date. You are only 27 years old, after all.
Go out dancing with your girlfriends. Find your joy and reclaim your powers. As a woman, as a person, as a human being. Start to discover who you are and what you want and what you are, amazingly, capable of. Make friends whom you will love forever. Study like a demon.
Date, date, date.
Boys and men. Men and boys. Guitar players and construction worker/artists, cowboy-indians and random strangers.
End up crying alone at night. After night. After night.

Meet a guy who is almost seven feet tall and paints houses for a living. Become intrigued. When he asks you to dance, say yes.
When he asks to spend the night, say yes.
When he asks you to marry him, say yes.

When he mentions he is a hunter, freak out.
Learn to live with it.
Have another baby. Start a business. Raise your kids. Go through another horrible depression or two. Finally deal with the issue of childhood sexual abuse.
Have another baby.

Throughout all of this, continue to cook. Vegetables and meat and breads and rice and grains and everything.
Every thing.

When he brings home venison, turn your nose up at it. Say it tastes nasty.
Live a few more decades. Learn more about meat and where it comes from and that which is healthy and that which is not.
Learn to cook the damn venison. Learn to love it. Learn to appreciate it with all of your heart.

Love that man who brings you the venison. Love him more every year until you don't think you can love him any more and then learn to love him some more.

Have grandkids.

Keep gardening, keep chickens, keep loving.

Thaw out a pound of ground venison and truly appreciate the way the meat has no fat in it, the clean scent of it because it ate nothing but what it found in the forest. Make the Ann Landers' recipe but add chopped onions and peppers and portobello mushrooms. And garlic. And a duck egg. Mix it all together with your hands. Make a loaf of it and put it in a baking dish. Put a few slices of bacon on top. Bake it in the oven with some potatoes.

Serve it to the man you love who brought home the deer meat. The man who was intriguingly tall who showed you a picture of his mama and his daddy the first time he ever came to court you. The man who has stood by you and with you and who has gone through births and deaths with you. The man who, on the surface, you have nothing in common with at all except a belief in family and in love and in working together and in supporting each other and believing that being kind to other human beings is about the best thing you can be.

Give him ketchup to eat with his meatloaf if he wants it. Butter for his potatoes. Some nice green beans and a slice of bread you made.

Kiss him while you're eating.
Appreciate the deer, the vegetables, the person sitting beside you.

Kiss again.

Enjoy your meatloaf.

Make sandwiches the next day. Be grateful all over again.

It will be delicious. I promise.


  1. This is the most beautiful recipe and love story ever.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I love the way you write.

  4. I was just saying today that I'd love to make a meatloaf, but I don't know how to cook for two. But if it will provoke the kind of thoughts you had, I just may make one soon. But tonight, honey and I celebrated 26 years of wedded fun 'n games and ate at Ruth's Chris steakhouse. BEST STEAK EVER!

  5. I have run out of superlatives...but this was truly lovely. Thank you for sharing your gift and your life/love stories each day. They are beautiful gems that I always look forward to.
    Angie D

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  7. What a lovely tale! It's lyrical. My meatloaf recipe is from a church lady at my college church, on an index card. I have been a heathen for several years now and the recipe is just a jumping off point. When I'm in a hurry or the oven is broken I make burgers. May need to find some venison soon for it. No resident hunters handy for it.

  8. This is beautiful, Ms Mary Moon. You've crammed a lot of life into this one post. And it comes out like a lullaby. How do you do that?

  9. I think there is a lot of love in your meatloaf recipe. Beautiful!

  10. Bloody hoot and holler! Now THAT'S a recipe!

    I'm just getting caught up, I'm SO sorry about Eggy Tina and Missy. Seriously, Eggy Tina is my favorite chicken name and of all your birds, she's the name I will remember forever because I just thought it was such a great name for a chicken.

    I heart you.

  11. Love this recipe form and the way you used it to tell your life story. Sending more hearts your way. x0 N2

  12. This post is so full and I thought of at least a dozen comments.

    My mom made the most delicious meatloaf and it did have onion soup mix.

    My brother in-law is a strict vegan. He married my sister who loves McDonald's and would wrestle a moose to the ground if she was hungry. How they manage is beyond me but my sister did once tell me that she though the meat/vegan thing was going to be the death of them.

    My ex sister in-law used to make aprons out of jeans.

    I think all musicians have some crazy in them.

    Therapists have helped me a little bit in life but the biggest help by far is blogging.

    Ketchup is a must on meatloaf.

    Why is there a singer called Meatloaf?

  13. Wow, what a life story. You write so well. So glad that you got happiness eventually.Your man sounds wonderful.

  14. You have managed to make a love song out of the humble meatloaf. I love stopping by here.

  15. They say every family's meat loaf recipe is just a little bit different, and now I see how truly individual they can be! I love this. Love the narrative arc and the way it puts your whole history into concise focus. And putting bacon on top of lean venison -- smart! Dave always says venison needs extra fat.

  16. You are an amazing story teller! "Grow up in a will be delicious, I promise". It's once upon a time to happily (mostly) ever after-by way of meatloaf.

  17. This is one of the best things I've ever read. I love it. Thank you, thank you.

  18. Best title ever for a love story. You are brilliant.

  19. Among so many posts I have absolutely loved, this just might be my favorite post of yours ever. I can't even begin to tell you how much this touched me. By 27 you have lived more life than most people do in forever, and then the story began again. All of it adds up to one delicious and blessed meatloaf. Gosh, you can write.

  20. I love the comments, here here to all of it.

  21. wow. quite a condensation there. my first date with my future husband, we went to visit his grandparents first (something he and then we did every week). his grandmother cornered me in the kitchen and asked me (actually it was more of a statement) if I was going to marry him. I managed to mumble out that this was just our first date. later when we decided to get married and a friend of my parent's gave us an engagement party, his grandmother said to me, see, I told you you were going to marry him.

  22. Jo- It's a true story although some details are missing.

    Blue Gal- Thank you. I got inspired.

    Anonymous- I'm glad!

    Catrina- Congratulations on 26 years! And oh boy, do I love a good steak!

    Stubblejumpin Gal- I'm glad you think so.

    Angie D- Aw. Thank you.

    Cathy H-S- I bet that bison would work as well. You can buy that some places. Or grass fed beef.

    jenny-o- I don't know. I wrote it while the meatloaf was cooking so...

    Mama D- Yes. Lots of love.

    Elizabeth- Thank you, sweetie.

    Heartinhand- And I heart you.

    N2- And more hearts back your way.

    Birdie- I agree with all of your points. Good observations! Now, as to why there is a singer named Meatloaf? No clue.
    Thank you, darling. Always.

    Frances- He is...well, he is precious. And good. He truly is.

    Joan- And I am glad you do.

    Steve Reed- Venison does need extra fat. Dave is right. And you are right about every family having its own recipes.
    For meatloaf and for other things.

    Lain T- Well, the ever-after is yet to be seen, but to this point, such goodness.

    Lora- You are so welcome, love.
    Thank you for saying that.

    Marty Damon- Sometimes I get inspired.

    Angella- You are making me blush. I adore you.

    Jo- They make me feel very good.

    Ellen Abbott- At Jessie and Vergil's rehearsal dinner, Vergil's grandmother told me about how she witnessed their true meeting. That there had been a dance and several girls had their eyes on that boy but once he danced with Jessie, that was it. She twinkled when she told the story. Grandmas know, don't they?

  23. Just breathtakingly and positively beautiful. I'm crying. This is one of my favorites, maybe the tippy-top favorite, and I have quite a few among your posts. Gosh. Sigh. Wow.

  24. This is so beautiful I almost can't stand how beautiful it is. I am so happy and grateful and lucky to know and love you and your tall man in real life!!!

  25. You have lived a great life filled with love and tragedy. And it has molded you in so many ways. Glad to know you here in the cyber world.


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