[For three weeks, Josh & Katy blogsit]
I know that some of you have been asking yourselves: who is this Katy? Where did she come from? How did she become the accomplished substitute food blogger she is today?
You all are so impatient! This information will have to unfold, slowly, like a flower. Meanwhile, let’s be content with knowing this fact, which is relevant to the subject at hand: I do not eat mammal. Neither does Josh.
Josh doesn’t eat red meat because he’s from Northern California and that’s how he was raised. I stopped eating red meat to impress a boy in high school. That didn’t work. (Let’s be frank: nothing worked.) But the habit stuck.
Tonight, I set out to adapt a mammal-less version of Meatloaf a la Mode from one of my favorite culinary resources, my dogeared copy of Betty Crocker’s Boys and Girls Cookbook.
Yes, it lacks a cover, but you know what they say … books and covers and judging and all.
Sure, the Amateur Gourmet may well wax on about the Barefoot Duchess or whoever’s the foodie of the moment, but this cookbook is the real thing. It literally taught children in a prior generation to cook. It taught ME to cook. Ah yes, dear readers, I remember making scrambled eggs from it before age seven.
And it has an indelible kitsch value, let’s face it.
In fact, they’ve recently rereleased the 1957 version on the basis of its retro charm.
Isn’t this charming?
My version, inherited from some older cousins, is the 1972 version, but it has the classic recipes. You know, the date drop cookies and silver dollar pancakes, the sloppy joes and mad hatter meatballs, the enchanted castle cake and the salad of radish roses! Indeed, a common theme is food that looks like something precious.
Bunnies, for instance …
Pear bodies! Almond ears! Cottage cheese tails! I was a compassionate child, so it always made me feel a little sad to viciously dig out their cute little red hot noses with my spoon. But I was a greedy child, so I always did anyway.
Tonight, however, I set my eye upon the crown jewel of classic recipes for our dinner: Meatloaf a la mode.
Here is the tantalizing picture:
Meatloaf that looks like pie! Mashed potatoes that look like ice cream! On the one hand, it’s terribly kitschy. On the other hand, it almost seems like something that some young chef riding the comfort-food craze might have “invented” in a trendy restaurant. That makes it wonderful!
First, I followed the meatloaf recipe to a tee: torn-up bread, minced onion, a tablespoon of worcestershire sauce — except I used ground turkey instead of ground beef. See above for reasons why.
Had it been me alone, I would have added a little more kick to my loaf — some crushed red pepper, perhaps, or some sauteed garlic cloves. But Betty Crocker likes the kids to keep it simple, and who am I to argue with her?
One cooks the meat in a pie pan for a full hour, which gives you enough time to whip up some mashed potatoes. Doesn’t this look appetizing?
And would you look at the end result? Is this gorgeous or what?
You would eat that, wouldn’t you?
Now with all due respect to Ms. Crocker, I did add my own distinctive touches. That’s why the Amateur Gourmet pays me the big bucks, after all. A cherry tomato on top, and streaks of barbecue sauce to please the eye and palate both!