I’ve finally mastered my Mothers meatloaf!
It only took about 30 years. I’ve always loved her meatloaf and despite watching her make it umpteen million times while growing up I was never able to make mine like hers when I left home. I had the flavors down: ground beef, pork sausage, onion, bell pepper, garlic, egg, s&p – the usual suspects – and NEVER ketchup. She uses tomato sauce because ketchup makes it too sweet and she only puts it on the top of the meatloaf after it’s browned a little in the oven. But the texture of mine was always off. Hers is tight/smooth when you cut it. Mine was more grainy/chunky than hers. When I started checking out various recipes I found the use of breadcrumbs fairly common and thought that might work. But she NEVER uses breadcrumbs. I tried it anyway and mine was a little better but still not right. This July I happened to be at her house when she made one and the light bulb came on!
Eggs! She always uses 2 or more eggs and I only used 1. I couldn’t believe it was that simple but I tried it when I got home and lo and behold! Meatloaf perfection. I’ve made it 4 times since July. Perfect each time.
I’m a happy woman!
Now if I could only develop that ‘gotta be doing something’ thing she has I’ll be set. Unfortunately I got my Dad’s couch potato gene.
Isn't it amazing what very little things can make a difference.
I had the same experience, but it was my Mom's boiled cabbage, which I loved. I called Mom from all over the world having her talk me through it as I prepared cabbage for boiling. I finally gave up and decided I just could not cook the cabbage to be as good as hers.
Years later she was visiting me and I asked her if she would cook her boiled cabbage - I had a real yearning for the taste of it. I decided to watch her to see exactly what she did. Wow! She cut the cores out of the cabbage, but added them to the pot she was cooking the cabbage in - she had never shared that with me. When I asked her about it, she said she always did that and just thought everyone knew to do that. I asked her why she did it; she replied that cooking the cores with the cabbage made the cabbage sweeter.
Needless to say from then on when I was preparing boiled cabbage, I added the cabbage cores to the saucepan. And, to paraphrase you, Rae, boiled cabbage perfection.