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Cooking American in Germany: Meatloaf Edition

So if you’ve talked to me face-to-face/screen within the last week you probably heard me say that I need a hobby that I can do that doesn’t involve stuffing my face. Because let’s be honest, I could eat 24/7. I did buy a second-hand bike earlier this week, and it’s been really nice to have so far, even though the brakes are basically shot. (I can slow down… and that’s about it. Enter the Flintstones braking method.)

Otherwise, until I can get to into a library, start teaching, and perhaps join a choir, I’ve noticed that I have a lot of empty free time on my hands, especially when my roommate works nights. Maybe even after all three of those things start happening, I may still find extra time that I don’t know what to do with. I can’t travel EVERY week, because I’m keeping an eye on my budget, particularly as I likely won’t be paid for another month. The choir class, if I get it squared away, doesn’t begin until mid-October. I don’t start teaching for another two weeks.

SO, introducing a new section of my blog, where instead of eating food…. I write about it. That’s right, recipe time.   (If you’re the kind of person who needs EXACT recipes to follow, I’d go elsewhere. Like, far away elsewhere. I don’t even follow recipes when I’m using them, and I’m also adjusting to not having every ingredient you could possibly imagine available at the Safeway down the street and the giant refrigerator in which to store it all.)

First up- meatloaf. Yep. I made meatloaf last week for my roommate, the most stereotypical American food I could think of, as her first introduction to American cuisine. It was received with apparent approval- unless she was just being nice- so I’d count it as a success. Just a warning, however, I ate this for forever. A whole week kind of forever. So if you’re cooking for one or two, be prepared to have a lot of leftovers. They’re pretty good leftovers though.

“Recipe” is as follows…
A package of ground beef.  Mine was prepackaged at 500g (about 1.1 lbs) but seriously, nobody ever uses the exact weight a recipe calls for.
A green bell pepper, chopped up. This is probably unnecessary, but I like vegetables.
An onion, if you’re into that. Chop that up too.
An egg of some size.
Milk. Enough to ward off dryness. Not enough to drown the meat. Or not. It’s to keep your meatloaf from drying out, so you could add a second egg instead if you want. Or maybe even nut milk.
4 shakes of bread crumbs. Yeah, I shook the open box four times over the bowl. This is how I measure.
A big spoonful of brown sugar. I used two spoonfuls. It was too much.
Tomato flavoring of your choice, enough to cover the top of something that’s the size of a loaf of bread. (I used ‘plain/original’ pasta sauce because that was all that was available to me and I don’t like ketchup, which I also couldn’t find. If you use ketchup, I might suggest skipping the sugar)

Throw everything except the tomato sauce the and the brown sugar into a bowl and mix it up so that the meat absorbs all the liquid. I used my hands because I’m a heathen and it was faster. (If I have to tell you to wash your hands before and after this process, you probably shouldn’t be cooking.) Add salt and pepper even though the recipe doesn’t call for it because who doesn’t use salt and pepper? Find garlic powder in the pantry while doing so and add a little of that too because why not.

Line a pan of your choosing with foil so you don’t have to clean it later. I used a pan that was loaf-shaped because duh. Squish the meat/bread crumbs/veggie/egg mush into the foil-covered pan. Realize you forgot to preheat the oven and turn it on to 180 degrees C (350 F) and wait for a while for the old thing to heat up because you’re an idiot.

In the meantime, mix your tomato flavoring with the sugar (or not). Spread your tomato sauce evenly on the top of the meat mush. When the oven beeps at you, put the meatloaf in and watch Netflix for an hour. Take out and serve however you want.

Aaaand that’s a wrap folks. Serves 5-ish? Enjoy.

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