Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thoughts on Meatloaf

Yesterday I went to a dinner party at a friend's house. We spent the first hour and a half toasting things like, "Long life to the Pope, and death to his enemies!" I had unfermented grape juice, in case you're curious. At one point the properest of the bachelors present stated that it was bad etiquette to serve your guests more than half an hour after they arrive. In response to that we got some...Rebekah, how do I spell that thing that's little bits of food you eat to tide you over until the real thing?

Finally we got our meatloaf and it was quite good meatloaf, far better than what the caf serves. I had only one objection: It was absolutely saturated in ketchup.

I have, in fact, discovered a new pet peeve in people who slather ketchup on the meatloaf while it's still in the pan and then serve it. Some of us find the flavor of ketchup rather overwhelming and would prefer to mildly season our own meatloaf rather than having it done for us.

To illustrate just how much I don't like excessive ketchup on my meatloaf, I will tell a little story: One day, when I was very young (young enough that I was still sharing a room with my sister, and apparently too young to handle the ketchup bottle by myself) we had meatloaf. Mom asked me if I would like some ketchup. I said yes. She proceeded to squirt the ketchup atop my slice of meatloaf. I proceeded to burst into tears.

I don't know about y'all's families, but in my house bursting into tears at the dinner table will get you sent to your room until you can compose yourself. So I spent the rest of dinner in the room shared by myself and my sister, drawing a picture. Eventually Mom came to fetch me and I showed her what I had produced: See, here are the mashed potatoes, and here is the meatloaf, and here is the little dollop of ketchup on the side.

I don't recall my artisitic efforts being very well received (now, this was very long ago so perhaps I am misremembering, but I think I was expected to have refrained from making a production and simply said, "I would like my ketchup on the side, please." The trouble was, I was too upset to articulate what it was that had so upset me.) but I also recall that for the rest of my childhood I got my ketchup on the side. Then I got old enough to use the ketchup myself and continued putting it on the side. Then I came to college, where it seems to be in vogue to assume that everyone wants half a cup of ketchup on each slice of meatloaf.

If you think I am making way too much of a production out of this, bear in mind that I no longer burst into tears at the dinner table when the food does not please me. It is progress.


Becky D. said...

I do believe I remember this. It's incredibly funny now but then I know it was all I could do to control myself. You were probably sent to your room for your own safety. You must admit you were a challenge in the food department.


Theocentrica said...

Once, when I was little, I was sitting in the car at the gas station and Dad was taking forever inside... and I decided I was terribly hungry, so I ingested two packets of ketchup. And then he came out with strawberry ice cream. ^_^

The Sojourner said...

Mom: Considering that I am only now beginning to understand myself to the point where I can articulate what used to set me off, I can imagine I was rather difficult to parent...

Mari: Eww. Eww. Eww. You must have been STARVING.

Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

Ketchup is not supposed to go _on_ meatloaf at all (well, just a little on the top before baking), it goes _in_ meatloaf before you cook it, to give the meat a tomatoey flavor. I forget, have you ever had my mom's meatloaf? If you haven't, you should. It shouldn't even need ketchup on the side.

The Sojourner said...

My mom puts ketchup in her meatloaf too.

I don't think I've ever had your mom's, perhaps you should request it the next time I come over.