So, when I was growing up (North Carolina in the 1970s), my Mom didn’t make meatloaf. My friend Jan, now her Mom made meatloaf – but hey! they were from Massachusetts, they ate all kinds of stuff that we didn’t.

At some point when I was 11 or 12, I realized that my godmother, Mama Louise, made meatloaf. I don’t know if it was just that I was spending more time in the kitchen with her and actually saw her making it (and thus learned to make it) or if it was something she started cooking around that time.

Her meatloaf was different. You didn’t need stale bread to make bread crumbs. You didn’t use saltine crackers either. Her “secret ingredient” was good old Quaker Oatmeal. The meatloaf was moist inside, held together nicely, and it wasn’t greasy.

Fast forward a decade or so, and I’m making meatloaf for the two of us and our hordes of friends that we seemed to be feeding all the time. Only, the Mr is a huge fan of cheese (he’s part rat), so, it seemed like a good idea to put cheese into the meatloaf – you know, like a cheeseburger. I made meatloaf pretty regularly until we moved from the cold Midwest to warm sunny Florida – I haven’t made meatloaf in about 7 years.

Tonight, it was time to undo that dry spell of meatloaf-less dinners. Here’s half of it, it smelled so good and we were all hungry, so I didn’t get a photo before I cut into it. I’m happy to say that it turned out really, really good. I think that it will be on the menu more frequently during cooler months.

Mama Louise's Meatloaf

Recipe

1.5 (or thereabout) lb of ground beef 90% lean/10% fat

.75 c Quaker Oats (quick oats are okay)

.5 c catsup

1 tbs mustard

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tbs Worcestershire or Soy sauce

1 tbs minced garlic

1 c grated cheddar cheese (this is a bit different from Mama Louise’s)

.5 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350F. Combine everything thoroughly. Drain off fat after about 30 minutes. Cover meatloaf with more catsup. Return to oven. Bake 50 to 55 minutes until medium doneness (160F, use that fancy meat thermometer you bought months ago).

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