When our son went to UC Santa Barbara, he discovered just how bad dorm food can be. Faced with pedestrian choices day after day, he and his friends used to talk about their parents’ cooking, and share what they missed the most on the culinary front. His food memory was my meatloaf, and his friends couldn’t believe that was what he was missing.
Fast forward to his sophomore year, when he and his friends moved into a house in Isla Vista. One night he made this meatloaf. By the time it came out of the oven, all 7 of his housemates were in the kitchen, noses quivering. Our son ate his meal, and put the rest in the refrigerator with stern warnings about pilfering.
The next morning, all his leftovers were gone. Yes, it’s that good.
A freak accident last week left me with the ring finger of my right hand in a splint, and strict instructions from the doctor to not use it for 4 weeks. Yeah. That’s fun. No showers, no washing my hair, no picking up sauté or grabbing onto anything with my right hand, no writing, typing, painting, no doing dishes, no cooking. Basically, no stress on that finger at all.
NO PAINTING OR COOKING? Cue the scream. Time to get creative.
We all have dishes that evoke strong memories of our childhood. For me, it’s the ubiquitous casserole that had its heyday in the 1960s. In a very Mad Men fashion, every mom had their signature dish, and would swap recipes whilst playing bridge, at a volunteer meeting, or waiting for baseball practice/dance lessons/piano lessons to end. There was one constant in all of those one-dish meals.
Who doesn’t like rich, dark chocolate? These incredible brownies are just shy of qualifying for fudge status, and I’ve been able to adapt them to gluten free when necessary. A friend gave me this recipe 20+ ago, and it has been a staple since. I’ve seen variations of this recipe in foodie magazines, but I still like my original best. I vary the flavors for different tastes, and have included our three favorites below. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.