Yea, verily, I say unto you than in the land of Idaho there was a housewife of German extraction who made the best German food. We are talking dumpings so light they had to be held down lest they drift off. (Yes, I still have the recipe.) However, her husband did not care for German food so she toiled day and night learning American cuisine with some remarkable results. We shall, for the nonce, pass by the over-cooked soggy spaghetti made with cream of tomato soup (shudder). This trip down memory lane is more along the line of the (for the time) weird.
Said Germanic extraction housewife loved getting recipes from ladies’ magazines. Lady’s Home Journal. Redbook. You know the drill. And there came a day when she proudly presented: Banana meatloaf.
At the best of times meatloaf has always given me an Alka-Seltzer moment. I had the same relationship with any meat mixed with bread or breadcrumbs until I had stomach surgery. It wasn’t that it tasted bad, simply that I was really good friends with Tums, Mylanta, and old plop-plop fizz-fizz until it passed through my miserable stomach (thanks for the lousy stomach, Dad.) So I was ready to endure the pain on a more or less weekly basis – that is, until the meatloaf with the banana down the middle with mustard glaze on top.
The crazy thing is that there is now an actual recipe for something akin to it, merely involving mashed banana meatloaf. But in days of yore the husband decided to eat out with friends that night and the daughter of the household begged off saying she was not hungry.
It was not until years later that I realized the recipe likely called for plantain – of which we probably had none in rural Idaho. What I do remember is said housewife doggedly eating her way through an entire meatloaf one week so as not to have it go to waste. It was really doomed from the beginning since a sweet mustard sauce (gag) added just one more layer of shudder to the concoction – at least for the teenage daughter in the family.
Odd what we remember. If she were alive I wonder if it would even be a blip on her radar screen? Or if it would rank right up there with the time my brother threw a handful of dried hot peppers in the chicken soup, fishing them out before we noticed, and it was so hot that he was the only one who could eat it. In fact, our intrepid cook thought the soup had rat poison added to it. I think my brother had a gallon of soup to eat and that time the cook and the little kid went out to eat.