As a Latina, many people are accustomed to my intricate Spanish cuisine. We Latinas are known for our gazpacho, ropa vieja (yes, that is a dish) paella, and empanadas. Yum!! Every culture is known for their specific cuisine. It’s not common for someone to go over a Spaniard’s home for turkey and biscuits.
This brings me to a very funny story. I remember the day when I told my husband we were having meatloaf and vegetables. While my husband has been used to me making veggies for meals the meatloaf portion is what threw him off a bit. My husband is what we would call a puro Latino, meaning for his meals he expects penil, arroz con gandules, ceviche, tostones, etc., so sometimes my meal choices would catch him off guard. This is exactly what happened the evening I told him I was making el meatloaf. He was silent on the phone for a moment and asked me to repeat myself.
I smiled to myself and said again, “I’m making meatloaf.”
“Why?”, he replied.
He mentioned to me that all his time traveling with the military and his touring job, meatloaf was one of the most disgusting meals he ever came across. He mentioned that meatloaf was dry, thick, and bland. I told him that he was right, most meatloaves were dry, thick, and bland but not mine. I said that mine would be the best he ever had. He wasn’t convinced. Not because he didn’t trust me, but because I had said the same thing about my tofu and he hated it. However, he knew he had no choice but to eat whatever I made for dinner. I was busy in the kitchen whipping up a nice meal for my little familia, when my husband walked in with a large bottle of wine and a moody face. I knew the face was because he was not happy with my dinner choice and the wine was to drown out the taste (I knew he wasn’t going to need it), but I let him pop the cork and start his wine and dine. When everything was done, I sat my troop at the dinner table, said our grace, and me and the little ones dug in.
My husband ate his veggies, sipped some wine, and while grunting took a big bite into the meatloaf and said, “OMG! This is f****g delicious.”
I smiled and casually said, “Thanks amor, I am glad you enjoyed it.”
After a full load of dishes to wash and a dozen apologies later, my husband realized that his mamasita had plenty of culinary tricks up her sleeve. After that day he never questioned my cooking again.
Why do we do that? Why do we assume that we have to do things a specific way because of what we are used to? Why can’t people learn to think out of the box? My dishes are as predictable as a slot machine in Vegas. There is nothing wrong with following your culture, but there is also nothing wrong with trying out the rest of the world. I’ll have you know that my meatloaf is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. That and my cheesecake (which he said he hated all cheesecakes). But that is a story for another time. I hope that we can all learn to try new things and share those things with the people we love. I know I will.
“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” –Maya Angelou
So in case any of you were asking here is my meatloaf recipe. Buen Provecho!
What you need:
– A loaf pan
– Pam or shortening to grease the pan
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 cup ketchup
– 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
– ¾ cup skim milk
– 2 eggs
– 1 ½ teaspoon salt
– ¼ teaspoon pepper
– 1 onion, chopped
– ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
– ¾ crushed saltine crackers
What to do:
– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
– Grease your pan
– Press the brown sugar on the bottom of the pan until it is completely covered. You will need most of the brown sugar for this. Set the rest aside.
– Cover the brown sugar with a thin layer of ketchup and set the rest aside
– Beat the eggs
– Mix all the ingredients into the meat very thoroughly
– Shape the meat mix into a loaf and place into the pan on top of the brown sugar and ketchup bed
– Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar and ketchup over the meat
– Bake for an hour or until the meat is cooked well and is juicy
– Slice and serve with your favorite side dish