I hate meatloaf. I’ve never been a big fan, though my mom does make a good one. But the idea of eating a solid block of meat that is essentially a giant meatball without the awesome sauce or noodles just never seemed appealing to me.
One of the last meals Addison’s mom made for me was meatloaf. She never really liked me much and it wasn’t a secret. I mean, one of the first things another family member said to me upon meeting me for the first time was a comment on how much Addison’s mom didn’t care for me. Sure, we did have a good last conversation together before we even knew she was going to die, and Addison swears that near the end she did love me and was happy I was there to take care of her son. But the four years leading up to those last few months? Not so smooth sailing.
Even though I didn’t like meatloaf and even though I thought maybe the meatloaf family dinner with the Millers was some sort of test, there was no denying it. That meatloaf was the best meatloaf I’ve ever had. It had carrots in it and some kind of glaze on top that was just divine. I never knew meatloaf could be so awesome. But her’s? It was fantastic.
I asked her for the recipe and she said she got it from Food Network. I never really thought about it much more after that because I couldn’t really think of a scenario where I’d actually make a meatloaf. Until today.
It’s her birthday and it’s her first birthday since she died. Addison had been mentioning it all week and I wasn’t really sure what one was supposed to do during the first birthday after a loved one’s death. A friend suggested I make his favorite meal. One thing popped into my head. Meatloaf.
When my mother made meatloaf over Christmas break, Addison was so excited, I swear he ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When everyone had the option to eat whatever they wanted and all the leftovers were brought out, he made a huge meatloaf sandwich. Apparently he has missed this dish, and as someone who’s never made it, I didn’t even realize it was missing from our menu.
So I decided to make meatloaf for the first time, but because I’m a stubborn health nut, I decided to make it with turkey. Our tiny, messy kitchen has felt more like a prison to me lately, but I tried to squeeze some room on the counter to somehow knead a loaf of meat. I figured I’d surprise him with the meatloaf, homemade biscuits, broccoli and new potatoes.
But something went terribly wrong. I’m not sure what. It really didn’t make sense. Our fire alarm went off and it was near time for when the meatloaf and biscuits should come out of the oven, so I figured that maybe the meatloaf was burning. I pulled it out of the dish and behold! It was a gelatinous, raw mess. I was horrified and somehow managed to get the goo back in the dish and back into the oven.
Now, I love cooking. I pride myself on cooking. If something goes wrong during cooking– which it rarely does–I get pissed because usually I can wing it enough to make anything seem like a gourmet meal. But this? I had to cook it for over double the amount of time the recipe said. And it STILL was kind of mushy. I have NO idea what went wrong.
Addison called it meat pudding. I called it vomit. Somehow, it still tasted good, although it definitely lacked the loaf-like appearance.
I loathe meatloaf. I hate it so much. And if I thought I hated it before, I sure hate it now.
I would love to say I kept my cool, but a lot of things were going on at once and Addison thought it would be a good idea to come into my cramped kitchen and start trying to “help” and then put his hands on me to “calm” me, only making me more claustrophobic which of course caused me to speak emphatically with Italian flair, or as Addison likes to call it– yelling.
It was far from yelling, but we’re still learning about communication, so who knows? I just call it “trying to be heard.”
Long story short, somehow dinner ended up okay, even though it wasn’t perfect. Much like life, but don’t worry– I’m not going to get too deep here with some weird meatloaf metaphor. That’s not what this is about.
Want to know what he said about the whole ordeal? He thinks his mom sabotaged my meatloaf on purpose. I hadn’t even told him that the reason I was making it was because of her birthday yet, and he brought it up. He said she just didn’t want me to out do her. And you know what? I wouldn’t put it past her to inhabit my kitchen and mess with my meatloaf and fire alarm. She can rest in peace knowing her meatloaf reigns supreme.
I’d like to say I’ll never eat meatloaf again, but unfortunately I made a large enough meatloaf for multiple leftovers. I’d also say I’ll never make it again, but Addison said he liked it so much he could “eat it everyday if he was allowed.”
Well played, Mrs. Miller. Well played. I guess meatloaf will always be a part of my life, just like you. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.