Maybe it’s a backlash against all the exoticism and internationalism and Mediterraneanist freshness that we’ve been habitually exploring in the kitchen at home, but my wife suddenly, out of the blue, made meatloaf. Turkey meatloaf. Not only did she make meatloaf. But she made broccoli. Not the usual high heat garlic red pepper sautee, but steamed broccoli. Not only did she make turkey meat loaf and steamed broccoli. She made mashed potatoes.
I came home to smells more calming and soothing than I’d experienced in what seemed like years. And my kids ate it up like it was Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. And I ate it up like it was the best food I’d ever tasted, despite recent family forays into sushi, octopus, and other less emotionally and nostalgically comforting culinary arenas. And it made me wonder: am I working way too hard trying to find new culinary experiences and leaving some of the simplest, best ones in the dust? Maybe so. But you know what: it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. My wife said that she spent more time cooking this meatloaf than she does most other dishes, so I guess we pay a bit of a price for comfort food. I’m all for a fresh arugula, burrata, heirloom tomato slice and serve as the next gastroparent, but this was special. In its unspecialiness.
But I digress. We loved this dinner. And here’s the base meatloaf recipe, which Aimee amped up and doctored according to instinct, bless her: she added fresh chopped celery, zucchini, fresh sage and rosemary, an extra egg, and red pepper flakes. It tasted better and was more vegetable-rich than this recipe that was the inspiration. Me? I woulda added some bacon to boot. But the kids didn’t seem to miss it.