Isn’t it interesting that what you may shun as a kid you sometimes embrace as an adult?
For example, when I was young, my mother would serve the family meatloaf with boxed mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts on the side, which were often disguised with loads of butter or melted cheese in an effort to get the kids to eat them.
Boxed mashed potatoes? When I was 10 years old, sure. Forget the Brussels sprouts (I have texture issues here) and, the meatloaf, well frankly it lacked the spice and tang that defines this Americana entr/e.
While my mother makes many wonderful dishes and is someone I consider an expert baker, a turning point in her culinary repertoire came when she began freely incorporating more barbecue sauce into the menu.
There’s a story here. One too long for this week’s column (stay tuned), but I will tell you that my paternal grandparents, Bud “Poppie” and Joyce “Grammie” Sunshine, for many years owned a barbecue joint in south Denver called “Gator’s.”
I can’t remember a lot of details – Poppie later switched to the dry cleaning business and now sells candy – but I distinctly recall mom embracing good barbecue sauce.
After too many rounds of sauce-less loaf, mom began dishing up great meatloaf by adding barbecue sauce to the mix and slathering it on top so it would bake into a delicious glaze.
Something so simple made such a difference. The burst of flavor added by the sauce not only created depth of flavor but also gave the top an intense, dark brown color.
Last week, shortly after it had snowed, I was craving the hearty meal of meatloaf and homemade garlic mashed potatoes (I promise you I won’t stay stuck in comfort food mode too much longer. Well, that could be lie.)
I decided I would try to recreate mom’s glazed meatloaf on my own. This is where watching my family cook actually pays off. I could remember bell peppers and onions, garlic and bread crumbs. From there it was a matter of feeling my way through the mixture.
If it wound up too dry I knew could throw in another egg and some additional barbecue sauce (we’ll debate homemade versus store-bought in another column). If it got too wet, I knew I could add another handful of breadcrumbs.
Further, I wanted to make mashed potatoes from scratch, something I hadn’t done in a while even though I have long known they taste far superior to boxed flakes.
I peeled a lot of potatoes and remained patient as they boiled on the stove, becoming tender enough so I could drain and then add minced garlic, heavy cream, salt and pepper. A warning for rookies on the mashed taters: don’t under-boil, and drain completely.
I was expecting a couple more friends to come over for this meal but wasn’t too bummed when they didn’t, prompting me to survive on garlic mashed and barbecue meatloaf for several days.
Did I just say that out loud?
L’Chaim and B’Tay Avon (To life and eat well).
Staff writer Liz Sunshine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed in this article reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients. Form into a greased pan. Bake at 350/ for one and a half hours.
Mashed Potatoes for four:
5 peeled baking potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and boil potatoes until they easily break apart. Drain potatoes. Mash into large bowl. Combine cream and garlic in small saucepan and bring to simmer. Pour cream mixture into potatoes and combine. Enjoy!