Food tastes and preferences are always evolving; partly due to cultural differences, the success of a manufacturers’ advertising, conflicts and wars, how hectic one’s lifestyle is, etc. and one’s particular tastes, just to name a few. What about the humble comfort food we call ‘meatloaf’? Often, we think of ‘meatloaf’ as ground beef, or pork, or veal, or a combination of these, however, there are as many variations of meatloaf around the world as there are cookbooks.
As Lois Wyse says in her book, ‘Just Like Grandma Used to Make’:
‘What can we say about meatloaf? If you were a grandmother, you made it and then let the family choose the way to eat it. Some ate it hot from the oven, others cold from the refrigerator. Our friend Charlotte in Iowa loved it best as a leftover on good, thick bread and with plenty of mayonnaise. Who knew about cholesterol?’
The Spanish call it ‘Pan con Carne’….in Afrikaans, it is ‘Gehakt’. An Albanian eats ‘Rulet Mishi’, and a Croatian consumes ‘Mesna Štruca’. If you are living in Malaysia, you would ask for ‘Daging Cincang Gulung’ and in Turkey, ‘Rulo Köfte’. Wikipedia came up with a plethora of names for meat loaf around the globe, in a search on ‘meat loaf’ and ‘meatloaf’. According to their site, the Austrians have ‘Faschierter Braten’, the Bulgarians have ‘Rulo Stefani’ and in the Czech Republic, it is referred to as ‘sekana’, meaning ‘chopped’. Denmark has ‘Forloren hare’ (mock hare), which contains ground pork and beef, but no hare. One begs to ask, why not just call it ‘beef loaf’ or ‘pork loaf’, instead of ‘mock’ something? Germany has ‘Hackbraten’ and Greece has it’s ‘Rolo’. The Philippines has ‘Embotido’ and in Vietnam, their loaf is boiled. Estonia, formerly under Soviet control, has ‘pikkpoiss ehk hakkliharull ehk valejänes’, ‘Meat Loaf’, and according to Karin Annus Karner, author of “Estonian Tastes and Tradition’, ‘Just about every Estonian household makes meatloaf at one time or another’.
Loved so much by so many, at least one individual took on the name for himself: American hard rock musician and actor Michael Lee Aday, born in 1947 is known by his stage name ‘Meat Loaf’. I don’t know if it was because he was a meatloaf fan, or there are other reasons. Perhaps someone in the know can share the story!
In my next post, I’ll be exploring meatloaf recipes from around the world. Just about every country seems to have a recipe for one!