Monday 10 November 2014

My Mom's "Pacific Northwest" Meatloaf, and the story behind it.

This delicious recipe was born of desperation, poverty, and one mom's creativity and determination to take care of her family in hard times. 

When we first came North, originally to Oregon, the job that my dad was promised turned out to be bunk, along with the advance for housing that was meant to come with it, so we camped in the Oregon wilderness for several months, while my dad went in search of work. He got a couple good leads in Seattle, so we continued further North, to what is now the suburbs of Issaquah (sub-suburbs?), but back then it was all wilderness, and camped until we could find some place to go. We ended up getting some help from St Vincent De Paul, in the form of a couple week's stay in a cheap motel in Seattle, so my dad would be able to find and get to work. He worked temp jobs until he got hired in his field at a real job, and we got a crappy, 2 bedroom apartment, but were still really struggling for the first several months. During that time, my mom did everything she could to save money and make every bit of food go as far as possible to keep us kids fed. Soon, she found out about food banks, and they really made a difference! That first trip to the food bank was another humiliation for my mom, who was raised to believe that "only poor white trash and (racial slurs) take  charity", but she did what she had to do. It was fall, so apples were in season and plentiful, and since it was near Thanksgiving, there was ground turkey (what poor people have for Thanksgiving dinner when the turkey hindquarters run out). You could always get all the stale bread and half rotten potatoes and onions you could carry at the food bank, so most meals incorporated those things, and this one is no different.  

This recipe uses about double the meat, far less bread crumbs, and lots more bacon than the original, for probably obvious reasons.
I added the allspice to the recipe 20 or so years ago, and my mom liked it, so it got "officially" added to the recipe. 

It can be stretched out quite a bit to feed more people for the same amount of meat. 

  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs ground meat (I use beef and turkey usually)
  • 1 med onion - chopped
  • 1 sm bunch green onion - chopped
  • 1 med apple - cored & chopped
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs/wheat germ/oats/bran/other grain
  • About a shot of Worcestershire
  • 2 eggs
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • About 1/4 tsp allspice
  • Bacon - several slices
  • Ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees
Mix all ingredients except bacon and ketchup together well in a large bowl.
2. Form a loaf (or reasonable facsimile) in a loaf pan or pretty much any other baking dish or cast iron skillet, leaving a small "trench" all around the edges of the pan (for grease to escape)
3. Cover top with a thin-med layer of ketchup.
4. Wrap and top loaf with bacon slices.
5. Bake @ 350° for about 1 hour or until meat thermometer reads 150°

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