My daughter asks incredulously if the kids at the school where I work get to eat my meatloaf, like the one I feed to her. She is terribly jealous as she would like to have meatloaf at her school, served hot by the lunch ladies.

It’s true that my last school kitchen was a throwback to the 1950s. They hadn’t given into the trend in public schools in the 1980’s of using processed food exclusively. It was a residential school and the food was cooked on site, by cooks, from scratch, regularly. I developed a fantastic meatloaf recipe there. I make a home sized version at home.

Now that I’m at a typical public school which followed the processed food trend, I’m incorporating scratch made food into a menu. The meatloaf has made a showing. I’ve been thinking of doing a series of Throw Back Thursday meals. Maybe chicken and noodles, sliced turkey? The kids are enjoying it. The only difference between home which you’ll see below and work, is that I add pork at home. The school is a pork free joint, so it’s all beef there.

Throw Back Meatloaf

4 slices of bread
1 cup of milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 onion, diced super finely
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
The most important thing is the bread soaked in milk. In a bowl mush the bread and milk together. It needs to be totally saturated. Soak it while you combine everything else down to and including the Worcestershire sauce.  I once heard someone call it “whoseyersistersauce”, which I can not unthink when I see a bottle of it now. By the time all the stuff in in the bowl the bread should be good and saturated. Grab a handful of bread at a time and squeeze out the milk. Add the bread to the meat and discard the milk.
Mix together with a gentle touch. It needs to be well combined but not over mixed. If you dying to adjust the flavor, make a tiny patty, like a teaspoon full and fry it in a skillet. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Put into a loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until the inside is 165 degrees. Pour off the fat. There will be a lot of fat.

Combine the ketchup and brown sugar. Spread ketchup mixture over the loaf and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. This would be good time to mash some potatoes and pull the green beans off the stove, because mashed potatoes and green beans (or peas if you’d rather) are nearly an absolute must for meatloaf for a throw back meal. Makes 12 modest servings. 6 for bigger eaters which is good because you’ll need to save some for meatloaf sandwiches for the next day’s lunch.

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