Like a Bat Out of Hell...

Thursday 20/1/2005

Back to noshblog site (click here)

Diary and Notes

When I started my 'American rules the waves week' (the airwaves that is, what with all their TV and radio stations and blasting our brains with gamma rays from Fylingdales) I sent some emails to my American chums asking for suggestions as to what must be cooked in order to have really done tribute to the cuisine of our colonial, tax dodging, allies. Every single person (out of at least five) said the same thing - meat loaf. It seems that meat loaf is the quintissential American dinner and as we all know from Happy Days, I Love Lucy and South Park, it is as deeply engrained in the American psyche as saluting the flag, the right to own battle tanks and Janet Jackson's left tit.

I have eaten meat loaf in America myself. It was some time ago when I was on a hitch-hike from Chicago to LA (mainly due to me wanting to go to LA, but only being able to afford a plane ticket to Chicago). I had been picked up somewhere West of Des Moins (Iowa) by a bizarre old man in a bright pink Peterbilt. Happily for me my new pal, Dennis, was going all the way to LA, but wanted to stop off in Pueblo Colorado to see his girlfriend (Dennis was about 80 years old I should add). So after a few days trucking along through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado (with a very enjoyable stopover for a trip greyhound racing and getting drunk with the locals), New Mexico and Arizona, we finally got to California where I had some meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy at a truck stop just over the border (I have a near photographic memory for food you may notice and can remember nearly every meal I ate on that five day journey). For truck stop food it was pretty good and I've had a soft spot for meat loaf ever since and often make myself one, keeping left overs for sandwiches etc...

As you can probably guess, my American chums also sent me a host of different meat loaf recipes, most of them involving minced beef, breadcrumbs and egg, but each offering a subtle twist of flavour (some Worcestershire sauce, herbs etc...). There were one or two slightly odd variations which turned up on more than one occassion and one of these just had to be used - the tomato ketchup glaze. This was also suggested to me by my flatmate Ben who is from Wisconsin. He says that everybody in the Mid-West glazes their meat loaf with ketchup and that I just had to do the same, well, I just had to do the same.

The recipe below does have the odd (minor) variation to a traditional American style loaf. Firstly, as I am using some minced pork as well as beef, there's no need for any egg. The pork helps to keep the thing bound together and adds to the flavour. Also I didn't have any breadcrumbs so used (wait for it...) stuffing mix. Yep, Paxo stuffing. Paxo is mainly just rusk and breadcrumbs (plus a little flavouring) and as a meat loaf ingredient is just perfect.

This was a damn fine meat loaf, well flavoured and meaty through and through. I'm not sure about the ketchup glaze if you serve it with gravy, there seemed to be a clash of flavours here. I had some left overs for breakfast though, in a baguette with more ketchup and mustard and the glaze was great. My advice is: If your having gravy, leave it off, else glaze away and scoff, scoff, scoff.

Cake Blog

Chocolate Brownies with big chocolate pieces.


  • Meat Loaf
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Peas and Carrots
  • Gravy


  • Onion, Garlic, Celery Salt, Black Pepper, Mixed Herbs, Parpika, Chilli Powder, Stuffing Mix, Minced Pork, Minced Beef, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomato Ketchup


  • Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Mix the onion, garlic, some celery salt, black pepper, chilli, paprika and mixed herbs in a bowl. Pour on the stuffing mix and add about 1/2 as much water as recommended on the packet. Mix well. Add the mixed pork and mix again, then the beef. Add several dashes of worcestershire sauce and keep mixing until everything has melded into one delicious ball of meaty goodness. Place in a loaf tin or deep dish and bake (175c) for about 40 mins. After it's been baking, drain off any liquid (and use this for gravy) and pour some ketchup on the top and sporead all over. Back for another 20 mins to make the ketchup glaze.