Although my mother served meat loaf, she she never passed on her secrets. Truth be told, I have no real memory of that particular meal, so it is not something I’ve ever tried to re-create.
I do have a recipe in the little notebook that I might have used when I was in college, but it is so sketchy (probably based on some memory of my mother’s dish), I will not record it here.
For many years, I made a meat loaf, which perhaps originated in a magazine from the super market:
Chopped beef (hamburger meat) with grated onions--chopped celery, an egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper--smeared some tomato paste on top--and added a couple of strips of bacon before baking at 350 for a an hour or so.
At some point, I clipped a recipe from the Los Angeles Times for the meat loaf from 72 Market Street--a celebrity studded restaurant in Venice owned by producer Tony Bill, Dudley Moore--and maybe others-Liza Minnelli? It was very close to our home, but not a place we frequented. I omitted the gravy and retained the tomato paste and bacon by popular demand, but that Market Street Meatloaf recipe was the starting point.
I'm copying the amounts as specified in the recipe though I suspect I was fairly flexible. I did love using all these vegetables and thought sautéing them first (in butter, no less) was absolutely brilliant!
Finely mince (you could use a food processor for this):
3/4-cup onion, 3/4 cup scallions, 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup carrot, 1/4 cup green pepper, 1/4 sweet red pepper.
Sauté in three tablespoons butter until vegetables are tender and liquid is absorbed. Cool and reserve.
Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Stir in 1/2 cup half and half, 1/2 cup catsup, 2 pounds lean ground beef, 3 beaten eggs, and 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs.
Shape into a loaf--I don't believe I used a loaf pan--just put it in a bigger Pyrex baking dish--smeared some tomato paste on top--and topped it with three or four strips of bacon.
Bake at 350 for about an hour. In memory served with mashed potatoes and peas. Sarah claims that when she was very little I served all kinds of frozen vegetables. Perhaps this is true. If it is, I would certainly have served those veggies with this meatloaf.