My SO asked me to make his mother's meatloaf later this week. Since he rarely asks for a specific meal for dinner, I want to oblige it.
Now he has not lived with his mother for about 20 years and she stopped cooking from scratch even before that... so when she told me her recipe over the phone from memory, I was a little skeptical. I want to run it by you all in case she may have forgotten items.
1# ground chuck
3 slices of bread pinched into small pieces
salt & pepper
topped with small can of spaghetti sauce
I do admit, she was a simple cook, but this seems very minimal. My SO has asked for no diced vegetables in it because he wants a 'meatloaf'. But... no milk or tomato sauce in the meat? No egg? Not even Worcestershire sauce?
Well, that's a minimalist meatloaf, for sure!
I use egg as binder, for sure.
What about herbs? mirepoix? cheese maybe?
It must be something Proustian for your SO, so I'd oblige and make it.
My mom's food was minimalist too, and I have fond memories. However, I like flavor, so my cooking has been lightyears away from hers, bless her soul.
The meatloaf we had when I was growing up was:
Salt and pepper
Form the ground beef into the shape of a meatloaf. Season with salt and pepper. Smear ketchup across the top.
Bake for a hour.
You can see how waspy we were ;)
It was how my father had meatloaf as a child and that was the way he wanted it. It's perfectly fine and if you use very good quality beef with, say, 80-20% fat ratio, it will be juicy and flavorful.