(Photo courtesy of Plan59)
So last night we had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and salad for dinner. (I do actually cook sometimes, despite all my whining about it).
And I loved every bite! Meatloaf and mashed potatoes: the epitome of comfort foods, right? (That is, if an epitome can be two things--any English majors out there?)
It's just the sort of dinner I would have enjoyed as a kid. Well, except that back then we'd have been rushing through the meal and our usual wholesome family bickering in order to watch the "Room 222" or "the Carol Burnett show." (Whereas now we plop down with tv trays in front of our big-ass tv and spend a leisurely meal watching wholesome family drug-dealing on "Weeds," or wholesome family wife-swapping on "Swingtown." Gosh it's great to be a grown up!)
But even though the pleasure I take in it is the same, the meal itself has gradually transformed since I was in elementary school. I probably would have turned my nose up at it, many decades ago, had nose-upturning been allowed at our dinner table.
Over time, here's how my meatloaf, mashed potatoes and salad have changed:
Last Night's Loaf:
- The meat was ground turkey, not ground beef;
- The bread crumbs came from whole wheat bread, not white;
- There were about twice as much chopped onion and red bell pepper as in the original;
- The vegetables were sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, not butter;
- The egg contained Omega-3's (though some say it's not worth bothering with these);
- There was a fair amount of cayenne and thyme and other good-for-you spices;
- (But the ketchup on top was pretty much the same. Gotta have ketchup--and the sugar-free kind tastes pretty much like rust as far as I'm concerned.)
- The potatoes came from the produce aisle, and did not come dehydrated in a box;
- The potato skins were left on;
- The potatoes would have been blue had we not just run out of that kind. (Let's pretend they were blue, though, because that's what I use when they're around and it's more dramatic that way);
- Half of the potatoes were not even potatoes! They were cauliflower, 'cause cruciferous veggies are SO good for you;
- The milk was nonfat;
- The butter was "light" and had canola oil in it too; and
- There was no gravy.
Last Night's Salad:
- The lettuce was romaine, not iceberg.
- The lettuce was organic;
- The dressing was not mayonnaise-based or bottled; it was freshly made with extra-virgin olive oil;
- There were vegetables in there other than tomatoes; and
- The salad was piled high and covered two thirds of the plate, rather than a couple meager tablespoons.
But now? Yum. To me, it's meatloaf and mashed potatoes again.
I wonder though: as new research comes along, will the meatloaf and mashed potato dinner continue to evolve at the Crab and Lobster household? Will the turkey that used to be beef someday be ostrich? Will the onions be replaced by some new unpronouncable superfood? Will the scientists decide potatoes cause autoimmune disorders and premature hair loss and urge us all to replace them with rutabagas? Who knows?
How about you all--do you try to modify old favorites, or do you just enjoy them less often in their more traditional versions? What kind of dietary changes have you made since you were in third grade? (And does anyone else admit to watching tv during dinner despite all the Experts telling you Not To?)