Two Words or One?

I spent several hours cleaning up my spot at The Hampton Victory Garden yesterday.  I didn’t have the heart to pull out my marigolds yet and my kale grows on and on.  I had some Hopewell Farms ground beef thawing in the refrigerator and the idea of a kale-stuffed meat loaf popped into my head.

This is not a food blog or a cooking blog, but who doesn’t love meatloaf?  It’s easy to make (ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, and anything else which might taste nice mashed into a loaf), easy to cook (350 degree oven for 90 minutes), and easy to eat (with mashed potatoes, cold in a sandwich, or eaten with your hands as part of a guilty midnight snack.)

Don’t get confused and think that meatloaf is two words, because if so, Wikipedia will bring you to a surprisingly different explanation.

(Yes, I did have the vinyl version of “Bat Out of Hell.”)

True meatloaf has a long and illustrious gastronomical history, although in American culture, it got a bad rap during The Depression as the poor man’s meat meal.  The French do all kinds of amazing things with bits of meat, like pate and terrines and everyone says “ooh la la.”  Even Julia Child included a recipe for a veal loaf in the classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”  She also included two meatloaf recipes in “The Way to Cook” and says “your main concern is that it be carefully flavored, reasonably moist, that it hold together for slicing, and that it make wonderful eating hot or cold.”

My mother, Helen, is good at many things, including meatloaf.  She has a meatloaf for every season and every occasion.  She makes meatloaf with appropriate seasonal vegetables and even meatloaf without meat.

It’s amazing.  For example, there is Helen’s Summer Meatloaf, with zucchini and green peppers; if meatloaf is too heavy a meal in the summer, perhaps you’d prefer Helen’s Deep Winter Meatloaf, held together by steel-cut oats.

One of my favorites is the one she stuffs with spinach.  She rolls the spinach into the ground beef like a jelly roll.  She’s explained the process to me several times and I was surprised to find that I was able to put my kale-stuffed meatloaf together just from the memory of her instructions.

I think I’ve met both Helen’s and Julia Child’s standards for a good meatloaf and I’ve found another new way to get my daily ration of kale.

Onward, to find a recipe for cream of kale soup!

(Apologies to any fans of my photography; I tried to take a picture of a delicious slice of kale-stuffed meatloaf but the flash picture looked feeble and ugly.  Because I want my readers to love kale-stuffed meatloaf, I’m leaving the visual up to the imagination.) 

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