I have a friend who could really use a break. In the year before I met him, he lost three family members. Since then, one other has died, another was just diagnosed with a debilitating–and terminal–illness and then, I kid you not, his dog died. What on earth can you do to help someone in that situation?
Hugs and prayers are great, but sometimes they’re not all that fulfilling. So I decided to cook.
My friend enjoys his food, but he’s not a cook. I thought about what to make, consulted with someone else who knows him better than I, and decided to cook him meat loaf and mashed potatoes.
You just can’t get more basic than that. In long run, it’s hard to get much better than that either. Besides, it’s easy to transport and easy to fix, even for a noncook. I gave him the meatloaf in an aluminum tin so it only had to be put in the oven. The potatoes were mashed by hand and could be reheated in the microwave.
My meatloaf is little out of the ordinary and is chameleon-like in its makeup. Generally speaking though, the ingredients are:
1 lb ground beef
1/4 lb ground pork
half a chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup or so roasted red pepper (from a jar is fine), chopped
handful each chopped fresh basil and Italian parsely
1/2 cup or so grated parmesean
2 eggs, beaten
bread crumbs if it seems too juicy/catsup if it seem too dry
mix up everything but the eggs. Just roll up your sleeves and use your hands. Then mix in the eggs and decide if you think it’s too juicy or not. If it won’t hold a shape–like a ball–it probably needs some bread crumbs, but don’t overdo it.
Put into loaf pan and bake at 350 for an hour.
Hope you like it…it really is one of those recipes that you can add or subtract to according to your taste.
My friend loved it. Food can’t make everything better, not by a long shot. But cooking for someone has got to be one of the nicest–most comforting–things you can do.