Lynn talks about her meat loaf. As usual, I will discuss it after the cut
We’ve been asking Lynn questions about For Better Or For Worse, knowing she’s a wealth of seldom-heard information about the strip, the Pattersons, and family life.
"We"? Who is this "we"?
One of the things we wanted to hear more about was Elly’s cooking; her meat loaf in particular became a family favourite, mentioned by Mike more than once in the strip:
This would be an interesting question, if they wanted to pursue this seriously. Why did Lynn decide to change her running joke that Elly was a terrible cook whose food was despised by husband, children and even the family dog into a story where the children thought she was the best cook ever? Did it have anything to do with the fact that Lynn pretty much stopped cooking herself once she hired a housekeeper/cook?
Lynn has her own family recipe, and having tasted the finished product ourselves, we were hoping we’d get her to reveal the secret. [It’s amazing…I’ve been saving one in my freezer for a day when I really need some comfort food –Ed.]
Notice that the -Ed. does not say that Lynn actually made this finished product, only that a family recipe was used. For me, reheated frozen meatloaf would be a discomfort food and not a comfort food.
There is no recipe, exactly. It’s a made-up thing which varies in texture and taste depending on what you have to throw into it. Instead of ground beef, you can use venison, moose, or even chicken.
Is moose meat readily available in British Columbia? This "no recipe" comment sort of disagrees with -Ed. who mentioned a recipe that could create a finished product. However, -Ed. goes on to mock Lynn's lack of decisiveness with the title of the recipe:
The no-recipe recipe for meat loaf:
That's the way to zing Lynn.
The basic ingreds are:
•a ball of lean hamburger, about the size of your cupped palm.
•a wad of ground pork, same size.
•bread crumbs or rolled cooking oats (the amount varies according to how wet the mixture is…you want to make it “packable”).
•some canned tomatoes, broken up (don’t get the stewed tomatoes–just the whole ones).
•an egg or two.
•cut up an average sized whole onion and fire that into the mix.
The spices are usually:
•a bit of chili powder
•add a heaping teaspoon of Montreal steak spice
•and Worcestershire sauce…about 5 shakes of the bottle.
Considering we see Michael doing most of this in the comic strip, should we assume that Mike was following Lynn's recipe or that Lynn read the comic strip and created this recipe from what Mike was doing?
This is good stuff in a meat loaf, so don’t be stingy. Mix it all in. You want the works to be moist enough to be packed into a glass or metal bread pan. You don’t need to grease the pan.
When the loaves are packed–leaving space along the sides for grease to collect–I take a bottle of ketchup and make a snaking pattern across the tops of the loaves. You might get 3 loaves, depending on the sizes of your pans.
Bake at 350 degrees until the loaves shrink away from the sides of the pans. Should take about an hour…but check. Take out cooked loaves, drain the liquid into a container, and let them stand a few minutes before serving.
3 loaves? I thought we were starting with no more than you could cup in your hands.
Serve with mashed spuds, carrot rounds, and creamed peas. Add apple pie for dessert, and you’ve made one of my mom’s best comfort food dinners ever
Spuds. Lynn loves that word. Giving credit where credit is due, this is not Lynn's recipe but Ursula's. Note that Ursula likes those carrot rounds, and this could be the reason the Pattersons were so obsessed with them.
The broth you’ve poured out of the loaves will be mostly fat, but you can cool it in the fridge, take off the fat, and use the broth in soups or gravies. Lemme know how it turns out!
Note from Lynn’s staff: if you’ve frozen one of Lynn’s loaves, thaw it for several hours before you pop it into the oven, or dinner will be (very) delayed. Her meat loaf also tastes great crumbled into pasta sauce.
In other words -Ed. did not thaw the loaf and ended up breaking up the loaf in order to get it unfrozen OR -Ed. did thaw the loaf and it fell apart. That resulted in a crumbly meat loaf which -Ed. salvaged with a pasta sauce.
This recipe is not quite as disgusting as the cheepie beanie weanie casserole, but the discussion about the grease is a little unsettling.