Jack just celebrated his 44th birthday. In honor of him turning a year older, (and me biding for the title of best girlfriend ever), I decided to cook for him. The menu, his favorite dish from childhood…meatloaf!
As a vegetarian, I have little to no, (actually none) experience cooking meat. I had really hoped his favorite dish was going to be Kraft Dinner, which I excel at making, but alas, it was not.
I emailed his mom immediately asking for her meatloaf recipe and any tips to cooking it that she could pass forward. The email I received back was lengthy and contained a long list of ingredients, one of which was dried mushrooms.
The only dried mushrooms I have ever seen definitely did NOT come from the local grocery store so I emailed her back with a long list of questions…
- Where in a grocery store would one find dried mushrooms?
- Where is pork and beef located in the grocery store?
- Can I use an oral thermometer in lieu of a meat one?
Her reply email contained only one comment; “Are you sure you want to do this?” :- ) .
I realized then I was in way over my head and I needed to out source my problem.
I walked boldly into my local butcher shop and right into my worst nightmare. Shutting my eyes tightly, I blindly approached the counter, holding out my credit card. “Do you sell meat loaves?” my voice sounded tinny and was approaching a screech.
“Are you OK?” the voice said behind the counter.
“Meat loaf! I need a meat loaf! Just put it in a sealed bag and I’ll be on my way, sir.”
Unfortunately, buying a meatloaf turned out to be a very different experience then buying a root vegetable and I was instructed to return the next day to pick up my purchase.
The following afternoon I re-entered the slaughter zone. The butcher had put before me a tray of meatballs and a bulging heap of meat that appeared to be trying to escape it’s tray tin foil container.
“Cook the meatballs for 15 minutes and put the loaf on a roasting tray for about an hour.”
“Touch it with my hands?” my voice rising to the hysteria zone, “Are these meatballs going to get bigger? Like cookies, cos they look awfully close together and I can not deal with a slab of meat.”
His look said much more then his instructions relayed. He gave me a set of latex gloves made from saran wrap and sent me on my way.
Once home, I realized the gloves were defiantly insufficient for the task ahead so I put on my dishwashing gloves first then put the butcher gloves on top. I put the meatballs and the loaf into the oven, slammed the door shut, prayed and opened a bottle of wine.
The timer sounded for the meatballs. None of the dinner guests had arrived yet and I was totally freaked out. I took the tray from the oven and started taking pictures, which I promptly text to my carnivore friend in Calgary.
The caption reading….Cooked?
“What are those?”
“Cut one open and look at the inside.”
“Panic, looks exactly as gross on the inside as the outside!!”
“Must be done then. Good Luck!”
Two hours later, a bottle of wine in, 0 guests dead, 0 stomach aches, 0 diarrhea reported, I christened the meat cook debut a total success.
Next birthday Jack gets a weed trimmer like every other guy!