We’ve been asking Lynn questions about For Better Or For Worse, knowing she’s a wealth of seldom-heard information about the strip, the Pattersons, and family life.
One of the things we wanted to hear more about was Elly’s cooking; her meat loaf in particular became a family favourite, mentioned by Mike more than once in the strip:
Lynn has her own family recipe, and having tasted the finished product ourselves, we were hoping we’d get her to reveal the secret. [It’s amazing…I’ve been saving one in my freezer for a day when I really need some comfort food –Ed.]
There is no recipe, exactly. It’s a made-up thing which varies in texture and taste depending on what you have to throw into it. Instead of ground beef, you can use venison, moose, or even chicken.
The no-recipe recipe for meat loaf:
The basic ingreds are:
- a ball of lean hamburger, about the size of your cupped palm.
- a wad of ground pork, same size.
- bread crumbs or rolled cooking oats (the amount varies according to how wet the mixture is…you want to make it “packable”).
- some canned tomatoes, broken up (don’t get the stewed tomatoes–just the whole ones).
- an egg or two.
- cut up an average sized whole onion and fire that into the mix.
The spices are usually:
- a bit of chili powder
- add a heaping teaspoon of Montreal steak spice
- and Worcestershire sauce…about 5 shakes of the bottle.
This is good stuff in a meat loaf, so don’t be stingy. Mix it all in. You want the works to be moist enough to be packed into a glass or metal bread pan. You don’t need to grease the pan.
When the loaves are packed–leaving space along the sides for grease to collect–I take a bottle of ketchup and make a snaking pattern across the tops of the loaves. You might get 3 loaves, depending on the sizes of your pans.
Bake at 350 degrees until the loaves shrink away from the sides of the pans. Should take about an hour…but check. Take out cooked loaves, drain the liquid into a container, and let them stand a few minutes before serving.
Serve with mashed spuds, carrot rounds, and creamed peas. Add apple pie for dessert, and you’ve made one of my mom’s best comfort food dinners ever!
The broth you’ve poured out of the loaves will be mostly fat, but you can cool it in the fridge, take off the fat, and use the broth in soups or gravies. Lemme know how it turns out!
Note from Lynn’s staff: if you’ve frozen one of Lynn’s loaves, thaw it for several hours before you pop it into the oven, or dinner will be (very) delayed. Her meat loaf also tastes great crumbled into pasta sauce.