(Tyler Florence's) Dad's Meatloaf with Tomato Relish
with Wife, Dominic, Cho JH, Choi SW, Han CY, Hwang SE, Kim IT, Lee HS, MtG, Noh SJ
Had it not been for Deborah, I might never have started this blog. We'd initially gotten to know each other as email pen pals during college, back when emailing was somewhat novel. We fell out of touch after awhile, only to be reconnected via Facebook a few years ago. One of the first things that she asked me was whether I was still writing, a self-indulgent hobby that I'd once dabbled in as an undergrad majoring in English Lit. I told her that I wasn't. Later, it occurred to me that I had a growing collection of photos on the dinners that I'd been eating, photos that I wanted to discuss, if only to record my memories/observations on the meals/occasions that they depicted and, while I was at it, to share my experiences with others, for whatever that'd be worth. I'd tried posting some of the photos on FB, but each time felt like a demand for affirmation--please "like" this--as pretty much any action taken on FB really is. No, it needed to be more intimate, less aggressive. Like a blog. And so goes the origin story for GIVE ME THIS DAY. I didn't tell Deborah about the blog until long after I'd launched it, not until I felt fairly comfortable that I'd developed the right tone in the writing. And when I did, oh man, DC charged gang busters with the comments. Thanks, Deb.
Along the way, she's suggested several recipes for me to try. In all honesty, I'd always wanted to cook those recipes but never got around to them for whatever reason--sloth or apathy having absolutely nothing to do with it, I swear. Recently, I asked for another chance and pledged that I would make anything that she assigned me to--no matter what. So, she sent me a recipe for meatloaf. I didn't take it as an insult.
My own dad doesn't have any recipes.
Because the recipe involved 2.5 pounds of meat, and I didn't feel like downsizing, I waited for an opportunity in which I could invite guests to partake in the DC-inspired feast. When I broached the idea to my mother over the weekend, she declined--"You want us to come over for meatloaf?" Instead, I invited the camping crew, 8 of whom accepted.
Unlike the all-beef recipe shown above, the version that I'd followed called for 1.5 pounds of beef and 1 pound of pork, which may be a better way to go, as pork fat tends to give any dish an extra layer of richness.
It was perhaps the finest meatloaf that I've ever experienced. The tomato relish, which served a triple function of being incorporated into the meat to enhance flavor and moisture, topping the meat prior to cooking to create a caramelized crust, and accompanying the finished product as a condiment to provide a tangy counterpunch, was the key. Although I've always been something of a snob when it comes to meatloaf, I was humbled to discover that the dish could be so delicately sophisticated. I don't know why DC had sent me this particular recipe, but it'll be the recipe that I use from now on. Thanks, Deborah.
Also, the recipe version that I'd followed simply indicated "3 slices of bread" rather than a specific volume as above; the bread slices that I used may have been bigger than what the recipe had anticipated; as a result of being too soft because of too much bread, the mixture didn't quite hold its loaf shape prior to cooking and came out a bit crumbly in the end.