The meatloaf incident

3 Mar

I come from a long line of women who are nothing if not stubborn. Seriously, we’re about as stubborn as they get. You cannot make a woman in my family do anything she does not want to do. Persuasion, bribery, threats–all futile methods. How did we get this way? One word–meatloaf.

Meatloaf is gross. It’s just a big lump of meat sitting in a pile, spotted with what pretends to be vegetables and is held together with a weird glue of eggs and breadcrumbs. And I’m still not sure I understand how it gets that brick-like shape. Is there a special meatloaf/brick pan that one can buy? Is there a mold? Never mind. I’m not really sure I want the answer.

Anyway, growing up, my mother insisted on making this meal for our family. While she and my dad think it’s this amazing comfort food, she somehow got it in her head that my middle sister and I agreed. We did not. Seriously, what child, looking at meatloaf, is not a combination of scared, intrigued, and disgusted? My sister and I were all three.

It was all we could do to not just sit there and poke at it with a fork. It was hard not to experiment on the science experiment sitting on our plates (though I did reserve endurance tests for spaghetti but that’s another story). My parents, happily eating the meat mass, would consistently (and constantly) remind us that “Mom is not a restaurant.” Or ” This is dinner and you better eat it” (ah, the combination of fear of dinner combined with the fear of dad. Tasty). Or the ever popular “It’s not that bad” (now that’s encouraging).

But my sister and I stood our ground. We sat there, staring from our plates to each other and back to our plates. After about 1/2 hour of this, I came to the conclusion that I had better things to do than battle with meatloaf (and my parents). So I finally relented, smothered the whole thing in ketchup and choked it down. I threw my plate in the sink and ran from the kitchen as fast as I could (which was not so fast considering I had a ketchup covered meat brick in my stomach). But my sister was not about to give up.

My sister continued to sit there for at least another hour. And the longer she sat, the colder and more disgusting the meatloaf got. Hot meatloaf is bad enough but cold meatloaf? There is no word for how disgusting it looks and smells. I tried talking to her and encouraging her to do as I did–use the ketchup covering and basically swallow the thing whole so you don’t actually have to taste it. She didn’t listen. My parents cleaned up the kitchen and all that was left was my sister and her plate. She didn’t care. She was not about to give in.

And my poor parents. They were not prepared for what they were up against. You see, my sister was a stubbornness protegé. Even at the age of 8 or 9, she could stand her ground with the best of them. And she did. The great meatloaf battle lasted well over 2 hours, with my parents finally putting the fear of G-d into my sister (the only proven method for dealing with a stubborn woman in my family). I was not in the kitchen when she had to eat it–I had retreated to my bedroom for safety–but I heard it was ugly and definitely a little messy. There were lots of tears and yelling. But eventually, my parents got (well, forced) my sister to eat the meal. And so began the legend of “The Meatloaf Incident”. 

My sister and I might have lost the battle but we won the war. While my sister and I lived at home, my mother never made meatloaf again after that night. It’s was a small victory for my sister and me.  We stopped the cycle of meatloaf. Except for one person. You know who you are and we’re going to get you. I promise.


10 Responses to “The meatloaf incident”

  1. mom March 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm #


  2. Gail March 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Just taking a guess – could it be dear old dad?

    • janalynch March 3, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

      nope, it’s my darling youngest sister. she’s never been subjected to it and we’ve decided she needs to be!

  3. Nitza19 March 7, 2010 at 4:14 am #

    I looooove meatloaf. Hot, cold on sandwiches, whatever! I don’t know who puts vegetables in it (what??), but I love it. Add some mashed potatoes and corn, and I’m there, jana’s mom!

  4. FranticWoman March 8, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    I like meatloaf. Did as a kid and now. Meatloaf sammies make it totally worth it!

    I understand though; my mother’s salmon patties haunt me from my Catholic childhood *shudder*.

  5. stephb March 9, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    i like it too! with mashed potatoes and gravy. and i agree with nitza…we never put veggies IN ours…
    the standoff in my house involved brussels sprouts. i still won’t eat them to this day.

    • janalynch March 9, 2010 at 9:47 am #

      I love how everyone has some trauma involving food!

  6. jessica March 18, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    Oh I miss my dads meatloaf!! It was super! I attempted to make a meatloaf one night for dinner. Carlos came home and I served him dinner, like a good wife should….HA!! As he sat there looking at his plate, he asked me where the meat was. I pointed at the VERY dry and strange looking thing on his plate, and he kindly replied, “Oh I thought that was bread”. Guess I will never make meatloaf again!

    I can totally see every minute of this hilarious post!

  7. 100wordson January 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I understand food revulsion – to this day, if I go to my father’s house and green beans are served, 6 will be put on my plate, and I will be exptected to eat those 6. I believe I manage it with a full glass of sweet tea between each bean, and still barely manage to contain my gag reflex.
    However, I love meatloaf. My husband makes it with ground turkey and french fried onions (instead of bread crumbs), and yes, an egg as the binder. It gets made in a loaf pan (just like bread). Of course, since I hate ketchup, he makes a wonderful tomato paste/balsmic glaze to go on the top. Unfortunately, meatloaf apparently requires more time than many other things he makes, so I don’t get it very often.


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