Probably prompted by the fact that I was making a Weight Watchers meatloaf that was 50 some percent veggies, I asked Duck how he made a meatloaf.
“I used onion soup,” he said looking up cheerily, “and maybe a little tomato juice or water.”
“Anything else,” I prompted.
“Two eggs. Maybe three.”
I went out to the counter to borrow a pen and paper from the college student minding the weekend desk.
“Bread crumbs,” there was a long silence. “And Hamburger.”
I scribbled ferociously. “And you stuck it in the oven and 425 for an hour?”
He nodded happily.
“Do you remember what your mother did for her meat loaf?”
He didn’t, and that led to his telling us where she kept her recipes in her house.
“Do I still have the house?” He asked.
“No you sold it, but you still have some of your mother’s cookbooks.”
“Where are they?”
“In a box marked Duck in our garage.”
“You always made really good soups.”
“Yes, I did, and I liked to start a dinner with a soup. Guests weren’t so very hungry for the casserole after soup and maybe a green salad.
He thought for a moment. “There was something else my mother would do with chicken. After she cooked it, she took the meat off.” There was only a short pause this time. “Mother would put the cut up white meat into a chicken salad. The dark meat could be mixed with a little of the white and made into casseroles.”
We both smiled.
“That was a good way to clean out the refrigerator. You could be very creative with leftovers….”
We left early this evening starting him back down the hall to his room before taking a moment to wash our hands.
“You sure did focus his thinking about cooking,” G said as we toodled out onto Midway Drive.
“That’s one of the things he did best. Cook.”
Which started me thinking. When did Lipton bring out their onion soup? Food Timeline tells us that a California cook invented the California Dip two years after Lipton brought out their soup in 1952.
Trying to pin point when Duck would have begun using Lipton’s onion soup in meatloaf* is like pulling pinfeathers off a chicken. Duck was born in 1926. No Lipton’s soup then. Duck’s brother was killed in WWII, and his mother would have had no access to this soup until well after the war when Duck would have taken over the cooking or supervised it. Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix was a very popular thing in the fifties, and Duck always liked to try the new. By the sixties, he bought a house in Mexico where he ate American….something we don’t understand, and his cook would have been able to get the soup down there.
No Lipton soup in our house when I was growing up. We did have an occasional meat loaf where mother smashed up meat with eggs and bread, put it into a loaf pan, and pushed slices of green pepper deep into the meat mixture. The green pepper was really good, but the rest wasn’t very exciting. It wasn’t until the sixties I rediscovered meatloaf via a so-very-mid-1960’s cookbook devoted just to ground beef.
Over a many year period using that cookbook, I devised my own meatloaf that used chili sauce, bacon, onion, green pepper, V8, Tabasco with the meat eggs and crumbs…..and then I met G who wasn’t wild about it. He did like the 1939 Better Homes and Gardens meatloaf which tells us to scald the milk among other juicy details. Not a Lipton to be seen. Weight watchers wouldn’t approve either.
This evening found us chopping our Liptonless onions and celery, sautéing these and two apples with spices before adding to the egg whites, crumbs and turkey meat. Boy, we are getting good at this chopping stuff. The vegetables almost looked professionally chopped as they slowly grew golden in the pan with a tiny bit of olive oil.
I’ll let you know if it is any good after I get home from the Charger game. Even if it isn’t great, it doesn’t have many calories or points.
Duck: I kept poking his memory today.
Me: It’s playoff time for the Charger’s and I am due at work at 0800.
G: G worked on music downloads and put a picture on his blog, and fixed my Blogspot header………thank you, among other things.
Weather: 58 for the high. 42 for the low. We spent the day toastily in the computer room Saturday. I’m abandoning G tomorrow.
WW: Saturday: Souplantation salads. Our tummies aren’t enthusiastic. Sunday: Meatloaf, sauted zucchini, onion, and butter squash, tomatoe wedges as a garni.
Weather: Rain. Nuff said.
Other places I can be found: Blogspot as Day Tripper.