Lots of cooks are very uncomfortable about putting their hands in or on the food they are preparing. I’m not one of them. I don’t stick my fingers into a boiling soup pot nor do I cook with dirty hands. But I like to get personal with the food I’m fixing.
I know John Steinbeck wasn’t a big foodie, but his opinion (in Travels With Charley) on the subject, is one I can agree with. In his cross-country road trip he believed the flavor of the food he tasted was bland. He felt that the restaurant business was relying too heavily on machines to prepare food. He noticed that small town diners where cooks still used their hands for food preparation had the tastiest food.
There are some foods I prepare that have a unique flavor, I believe, because I do make them with my hands. Any kind of bread is one of them. I have used a Kitchen Aid to do all the mixing and kneading but, seriously, it tastes different (better) when I do the kneading myself. Above is a picture of my oldest daughter, Candice, using her hands to making one of her special pizzas.
Meatloaf is another one of those ‘use-your-hands’ foods. Of course, it’s messy. I line up the pan and paper towels before I start. A few weeks ago, I told you about my first meal served to my in-laws which included meatloaf (read it here). I have improved that recipe over the intervening years. Many of you asked me for my recipe so, here it is.
- 1 pound of mixed ground meat (I use half the mix of ground beef and the other half is ground pork/turkey/sausage)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
Put everything together in a large bowl. Stick your clean hands in and squish together until it’s completely mixed. Put into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees.
Alternatives: 1.) Mold and bake on a rack that is set inside a baking pan. 2.) Bake in a crockpot. Crumble aluminum foil for the bottom, set the meatloaf on top which will serve as a rack for the grease.
This recipe is easily doubled or tripled. I usually double it and make some meatballs at the same time. Two or three meals at the same time? I think I’m smart. Maybe just lazy.
I hope you’ll let me know if you try my meatloaf. Or, tell me about your own favorite meatloaf. Do you prepare food with your hands?
This post first appeared on my blog, Joyfully Retired