Failure...

… I was taught to cook by an Italian…. and he gave me only a handful of rules to play by… no measurements… be creative.. and remember that herbs and spices create a deeper and more complex flavor the longer you let them simmer together…

… and for the most part these rules have stood me well.. I have lived these thirty-four years with very, very few complaints ever rising up from the visitors to my dinner table…

… I will admit, though, that I created the most hideously monstrous meatloaf last night that has ever been baked by man or beast… so while some others were off hobnobbing with the sweetened, upper-crust of Atlanta’s finest, I was humbly sitting in my meager home staring down a badly boiled ‘porcupine meatloaf’… and both it AND I ended the evening stewing in our own juices.. rejected and dejected…

… it all started harmlessly enough, I suppose… some television show was on the tube and the Missus overheard “the meatloaf is a distinctly American dish!”… this, of course, prompted her to query as to why I had never made her a steaming plateful of such a ‘distinctly American dish’ in all of our long years of marriage … hey, I thought it was a pretty good question myself…. so I gladly took on the task and began searching the nooks and crannies of the internet to find a suitable recipe….

… I settled on a fine one that included stirring minute rice in with the ground beef and allowing the fat and other mollified liquids to perk the rice to plump perfection… (thus the ‘porcupine’ reference in the recipe… which, I must admit, seems exceedingly strange to me… I mean, what in the Great Livin’ Hell does a porcupine have to do with minute rice?)…

… anyway, I had no minute rice… but I DID happen to have a bag of Mahatma and figured that would do just fine… well, Brothers and Sisters, I was wrong…. Very, very wrong…. and add to this miscalculation that I only read the recipe once (due to my Italian teacher’s rules), and you can see where this trainwreck is headed….

… in a nutshell, well, I added too many diced onions, I didn’t have an egg and used some olive oil instead (for the binding, you know… meatloaf has gotta bind evidently), I added too much ketchup and decided at the last minute to throw in some Heinz 57 sauce as well, and then I made my second-biggest mistake…. I didn’t add enough breadcrumbs….

…. anyway, I mixed all that stuff together, spread it into a casserole dish, and tossed it in the oven at 350 for an hour and fifteen minutes… and as I sat on my couch reclining in contentment at having kicked my first meatloaf’s ass, I was at peace with my gin and tonic….

… indeed, even the normally quiet Missus remarked half-way through the cooking at how glorious my latest achievement smelled…. I nodded in silent acceptance of such well-earned accolades and sipped my drink….

… if we could have eaten “the smell”, we would have been alright… for when the oven was finally opened and the dish removed, the sight was both ghastly and nauseating….

.. the meat – now brown and lumpy – was covered in small volcanic-looking craters… and among the craters were bits of charred onions… and between the fire-curled onions lay the rice…. rice that had not had time to cook… rice that protruded from the burnt, warty surface of the loaf like hundreds of tiny broken bone fragments from some decaying, repeatedly run over by logging trucks, July-in-South-Carolina roadkill…

… yes, it was that bad… here, have a look….

meatloaf_small.jpg

.. did we work up the courage to eat it?.... of course we did…. we are, after all, adventurers at heart… but will I attempt a meatloaf again?... probably not….

… but take it from me, people… if a recipe calls for minute rice… make sure you use minute rice…. Your stomach, your teeth, and your pride will thank you….

by Eric on October 24, 2006 | Bullshit (27) | TrackBack (0) | Drinking
Bullshit So Far

Wow, Eric. That does look bad. But I've never even tried to make meatloaf. So I give you an A for effort.

Bullshitted by Jerry on October 24, 2006 10:18 AM

... I'm telling you, Jerry... it was astonishing... I have NEVER seen anything smell so good and taste so bad...

.. so very, very bad....

Bullshitted by Eric on October 24, 2006 10:20 AM

I make meatloaf using a box of Stove Top stuffing in it, some egg, barbeque sauce, onion, hamburger. It's freakin' awesome! Don't give up on meatloaf!

Bullshitted by Lisa W. on October 24, 2006 10:23 AM

You should have cooked the rice first and then added it to the meat and other junk.

Bullshitted by Catfish on October 24, 2006 10:51 AM

... I'm open to guidance, Lisa...

.. and indeed, Catfish... hindsight is 20/20...

Bullshitted by Eric on October 24, 2006 11:23 AM

You have to get back on that horse, don't let a mere meatloaf whip you, next will be chili, then steaks, you can see the trend. Make us proud get back up on that meatloaf and show us why there are Marines.

Bullshitted by james old guy on October 24, 2006 11:27 AM

what a vile abomination! rice in meatloaf? brother, please, meatloaf isn't exotic...rice is wrong. never do this again. and if you do, please hold the pictures.

Bullshitted by shoe on October 24, 2006 11:57 AM

The Wife makes an excellent dish called Porcupine Meatballs, and it does call for the Mahatma rice instead of minute, but then again, you have to use a pressure cooker for the end result.

I don't recall her ever using any rice in meatloaf however....

Bullshitted by ralphd00d on October 24, 2006 12:11 PM

I have to admit that I never thought anyone could really mess up a meatloaf too badly. You evidently proved me wrong.

Next time:

lb or so of meat
1 slice bread ripped into very small pieces
salt
pepper
2 thick slices onion chopped
couple sloshes of catsup
couple dashes of Worcestershire
pinch or so of sage and basil
couple sprinkles of parsley

mix it all up thoroughly and put in a pan.
spread some catsup on top thinly
sprinkle some Worcestershire on top of catsup and spread this over the top.

Bake 1 hr 15 minutes at 350 or so.

Enjoy. You really don't need binder with this at all.

Even people who don't like meatloaf at all seem to like this one.

Bullshitted by dick on October 24, 2006 12:13 PM

If I ever happen to be in your neck of the woods again, I will teach you. This is one of my specialties..

and then I will dump it on the floor..

Bullshitted by armywifetoddlermom on October 24, 2006 12:20 PM

My school makes "porcupine balls" with the same recipe, but they look a little bloody with all that sauce. Makes you wonder how big those porcupines were....

Bullshitted by holder on October 24, 2006 12:23 PM

The Missus makes a damn fine meatloaf...no rice in hers, although she will use the meat-rice combo to make stuffed cabbage that would make you weep with pleasure (PRS Jim knows what I'm talkin' about here)...beware substitutions in recipes, brother...but at least you were brave enough to make the attempt...

Bullshitted by Elisson on October 24, 2006 01:00 PM

Damn Shame!

Bullshitted by Dax Montana on October 24, 2006 02:37 PM

Don't worry Eric, there are just some foods you're bound to...not do well.. the first time you make them, such as bread and meatloaf and chili. The first failure teaches you much about what not to do.

Go forth and commit meatloaf!

Bullshitted by Nancy on October 24, 2006 04:08 PM

I don't like meatloaf because my mom made it while I was growing up way too often... but my kids and my husband love it - therefore I made it. It's very easy. You want to know how to do basic meatloaf - let me know. Once you have the basic down - you can improvise from there.

BTW - NEVER rice - it's always mashed potatoes - after all there's plenty of juice for gravy... or maybe that's the Irish in me. *grin*

Bullshitted by Teresa on October 24, 2006 04:47 PM

Hey, I'm like Mikey from the Life commercials ... I'll eat anything ... and truthfully, it actually didn't look half bad.

What exactly was wrong with it? Besides that it tasted like dogshytte?

Bullshitted by Erica on October 24, 2006 05:25 PM

Reminds me of the porcupine disaster they served me for lunch at high school. The rice was always completely uncooked.

Off-topic - Happy Birthday :-)

Bullshitted by Harvey on October 24, 2006 07:16 PM

Yup, that looks like South Carolina roadkill in July. Looks almost as bad as that time I saw a mashup involving a dead cat, a soon to be dead buzzard, and a log truck.

Grill a steak tomorrow and never speak of meatloaf again.

Bullshitted by Ironnerd on October 24, 2006 08:46 PM

Looks like something I would make :-)

Bullshitted by Sissy on October 24, 2006 09:25 PM

One reason they call it meat loaf is that the shape should be an actual free standing loaf; not smashed flat into a baking dish. I got yer back, bro. Hit me up for Granny Opal's meatloaf recipe. Foolproof, everytime....

Bullshitted by bitterman on October 24, 2006 11:31 PM

Dang, Eric, that looks even worse than the Mayonnaise experiment you were telling me about.

Bullshitted by Rube on October 25, 2006 04:51 AM

4 lbs. ground beef
8 eggs
1 1/2 sleeves saltines, crushed
1 c. brown sugar
1 lg. onion, chopped
2 cans chopped green chiles
3 TB ground sage
2 TB garlic salt

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
And now I hafta kill ya.

Bullshitted by Raging Mom on October 25, 2006 06:03 AM

Eric, one thing I didn't see anybody mention is in order for it to be "Meatloaf" you need to bake in a loaf pan. It should resemble a loaf of bread when done. Good luck, several of these recepies look very good.

One nice thing about meatloaf, is you can get creative. I think of meatloaf as a good stew in a solid form, each one will be different and you can pretty much put anything you want in it.

Bullshitted by Sarge on October 25, 2006 10:21 AM

Actually, a meatloaf is just a large baked meatball; use a recipe you would use for meatballs, and bake it as one big ball instead of browning it as a lot of little balls.
I've made meatloaf with ground bison, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, and rabbit. I've used Italian spices, Greek spices, Mexican spices, Asian spices, and found that meatloaf is adaptable to almost any ethnic cuisine, if you know what you're doing.

Bullshitted by BobG on October 25, 2006 01:36 PM

Up here in the Nort we makes porcupine meatballs but not often cuz them damn porkies get pissed about losin their balls.

Bullshitted by DanToom on October 25, 2006 03:01 PM

I made the mistake of looking at the picture before I read the post...I thought you were doing some science experiment with maggots....

Bullshitted by Lemon Stand on October 25, 2006 03:25 PM

Okay. Im gonna help you out, but you have to promise to try this. First of all your pan was way toooo big. You need a narrow loaf pan. Hence, the term meatLOAF. Otherwise you got a big ole casserole, son. Don't use oil. No, nope, never. You got enough grease in the meat. Use an egg, or MAYO. That's right. if you don't have an egg, use mayo or salad dressing. It's egg based. About a tablespoon should do it. Throw your ground chuck in a bowl, add 2 pieces of toast crumbled, onions (bout half a cup) chopped, green peppers, salt, pepper, Lowery's. Mix with BARE CLEAN HANDS. Put in loaf pan. Cook on 400 for 45-60 minutes. Check at 45. Top with ketchup the last 20 minutes of baking time. Do not overcook. This is what makes it dry. Ugh. Do this after your loaf has cooked, or bound together as you say, and it won't make it runny. NEVER USE RICE IN MEATLOAF! That sounds like New York citified meatloaf. LOL.

Bullshitted by Cindy on October 26, 2006 01:08 PM