Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Well, I couldn't sleep. I think it has to do with the large cup of coffee I had around 5:30 this afternoon. Everytime I drink coffee after 4pm I am up all hours. Unless I dilute the coffee with liquor. That seems to work.

'What does this have to do with meatloaf?', you ask. It just so happens that one of the thoughts floating around in my scattered little mind while lying in bed was how much I loathe my father's hamloaf. When I say loathe, I mean loathe. The mere thought of this monstrosity still, to this day, actually, makes me cringe in a 'I'm about to be sick' sort of way. I am not sure why this has stayed with me. As a small child, I used to get violently ill when I smelled cooked eggs. That response was hard to break, but I managed and now I eat eggs regularly (egg salad still turns my stomach). So why is it that a loaf made of ham still haunts me at the ripe old age of 31. Its not like it was on regular rotation of the meals made by Dad repetoire. I only remember having to eat it twice and of it making an appearance, where I flatly refused, twice more after that. So why has this thing stuck with me?

My father grew up in odd circumstances and needless to say this affected his cooking. He is not a bad cook nor is he uncreative it is just that sometimes things he likes seem to come straight from the 'Tom Jode Cookbook'. I guess Newfoundland in the 30s and 40s was a rough place. Anyway, he used to keep these hams in the fridge kinda like this one (not to disparage the fine folks at Maple Leaf):

I don't know if any of you has ever had to open one of these puppies, but they have this disgusting layer of gelatinous ham juice coating their entirety. It is just gross. Anyway, my father would keep one of these in the fridge for use in a quick lunch or snack or something. None of us ever seemed to eat them, but my father would cut off a slice here or there and eat it with cheese on crackers or flatbreads (before they were called flatbreads). Rarely, but on more than one occasion, he would run out of things to cook for dinner (either in the fridge or his imagination) and would grind or chop what was left of one of these suckers, mix it with things (to this day I have no idea what went in it, but I have a feeling rice was involved) and bake it in loaf form. It would be served with potato and some sort of green vegetable (steamed broccoli is a Dad fave) and mustard pickles. Sometimes my mother would take pity on us and make cheese sauce.

I may not have made this sound all that unappetising, but to this day I get queasy whenever I see this type of damn ham.


mom said...

Well Peter, this is your mother and I feeling a little put out, not because of your rather harsh sentiments concerning your father's hamloaf (which I happen to share - the sentiments as well as the loaf)but because, until you were about 12 years old, just about every meat loaf you ate was prepared by your mother! You may recall that I regularly made a meat loaf using lean ground beef and a variety of other ingredients including bread crumbs, summer savoury and/or whatever other herbs/spices were at hand, shredded carrots and other veg's like squash and spinach (hidden because you probably wouldn't have eaten them otherwise), other stuff depending on what was at hand, including rolled oat and/or bread crumbs, wheat germ and bran (also hidden for the same reason) because Adele Davis in "Let's Have Healthy Children" said it was good for you and I agreed with her until she lost credibility by dying really young. And, since you seem not to remember this, I must point out that many of these loaves were frosted with real mashed potatoes and margarine (because your father wouldn't eat butter) over a layer of cheese sauce (or ketchup if I was feeling less dedicated to nutrition). Finally, when you were even younger, friend Katie was fed this dish in my kitchen on more than one occasion. You will recall that her brother was there as well, but as we both know, he would only eat raw carrots and chicken.

Not to get off the subject, do you have any idea what was hidden in the spaghetti sauce? Also made by me for most of your early years.

Anonymous said...

I say long live the mustard pickles!