Meatloaf Memories

[This blog posting was written by one of our very favorite cooks, Daniel Tonozzi, who has spent many hours in the Artichoke kitchen.]

One of my favorite books on the shelf when I was a child belonged to my older sister. She had herself inherited it from a family friend whose daughter had received it as a Christmas present sometime in the mid-50’s. It was well-worn with thick pages, a broken spine, and line drawings filled in with brown and green ink. I don’t quite remember the title, but it was something along the lines of My First Cookbook or A Child’s Guide to the Kitchen.

There is one illustration that I distinctly remember from that book. I recall a spiky brown potato-esque blob, flanked by green leaves of what were supposed to look like tired Boston lettuce…or perhaps they were mutant parsley. I, of course, found the dark, misshapen lump fascinating and appetizing and couldn’t wait to get to the stove.

That brown and green splotch is my earliest memory of meatloaf. Meatloaf seems to be something that elicits nostalgic childhood daydreams. Perhaps it is more common to think of a steaming hot loaf wrapped in bacon and sitting in the middle of the table or of a thick, cold slice with pickles and mayonnaise between pieces of white sandwich bread. But whatever the thought, meatloaf is a fixture of American childhood.

Today, then, we would like to share two recipes. One is a childhood memory of the store owner, Karen (Woods Monzel) Hughes. Karen’s mother, Nancy Woods, culled her recipe from a 1947 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Thanks to the Friends of the Library, we have been able to find a 1948 reprint of the work that includes the same recipe.

The second comes from Samantha Theobald and shows that meatloaf need not just be a distant image of the past. Samantha is a recent Artichoke patron who has updated her meatloaf recipe to suit her more contemporary, adult tastes. She’s swapped out the traditional ground beef for leaner turkey and flavored it with a combination of briny, zesty Mediterranean ingredients.

We hope that you will try them both – and adapt them both to suit your own tastes. Whichever recipe you choose, put them in the oven using the USA PAN Meatloaf Pan, pictured in Samantha’s photo and available in our store at historic Findlay Market.


Nancy Woods’ Meatloaf Taken from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 1948

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs

1 cup milk

1 ½ pounds ground beef

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup grated onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon sage

1 recipe Piquant Sauce (see below)

Soak bread crumbs in milk; add meat, eggs, onion, and seasonings; mix well. Form in single loaf in 4 ¾ X 8 ¾ – inch loaf pan. Cover with Piquant Sauce. Bake for one hour in a moderate oven (350°). Piquant sauce: Combine 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, ¼ cup catsup, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon dry mustard.


Samantha’s Modern Meatloaf

Samantha’s recipe is far more free-form than Nancy’s. She invites you to experiment with ingredients and proportions until you find the combination that is right for you.

2 lbs ground turkey

Bread crumbs

1 egg

Balsamic vinegar

Chopped onion

Spinach leaves

Artichoke hearts, chopped

Sundried tomatoes, chopped

Feta or goat cheese




Samantha gives very simple directions: mix and bake. We remind our readers that turkey should register an internal temperature 170° in order to be safely consumed. If you divide the meatloaf mixture into two, one-pound loaves and bake them at 350°, we suggest that you start checking the internal temperature after 40 minutes.