Writer's meeting tomorrow morning! One of the few I can actually attend during the year, as I am generally in school. The assignment?
Write about your recipe. Well, that's a bit hard, as few of them have much of interest behind them. I will write about A recipe, but found I could not prepare it, as I did not have all the ingredients on hand. So it goes when the nearest grocery store is a 50 mile round trip.
What I brought was a simple green bean casserole. Sort of. It's supposed to have onion rings on top, but I did not have a can of them on hand, so I added extra mushrooms, being of the firm opinion that these things cannot have enough mushrooms, and made the top crunchy with Grape Nuts. So, it is not QUITE the same old-same old. It seems nothing I cook is.
My brother hates meat loaf.
I have that on good authority from my mother and both sisters. I seem to remember Mom fixing a perfectly good, serviceable meatloaf once a week, or so, and never noticed him passing up supper, but maybe I'm just not overly observant. After all, he was eight years younger, and I was going to school and working.
When my brother was 12 or 13, he suddenly outgrew the home housing development, and I inherited him for part of a summer. "Horsing around" for real is a lot more healthy in the long run.
Since money was frequently tight, meat loaf was also on my menu. I did NOT inquire if he wanted to eat it, or not. It never crossed my mind.
What DID cross my mind was that Hamorita was due to produce her first foal, and I wanted to be there, if at all possible, so a meat loaf was quickly thrown together in the round white bowl with the red square design around the top.
The white-wrapped paper around the hamburger quickly yielded to my eager fingers, and the meat was still pink, smelled good, and so all was a "go" for the main dish. Into the bowl it went. An egg, a few shakes of salt, a dollop or two of milk, the diced onion Jamie had chopped somewhat erratically, and two bales of Nabisco's Shredded Wheat were quickly squeezed into a shape the bowl could accommodate, and into the oven it went.
It cooked soooo slowly for the first 30 minutes that it felt more like three hours! I waited impatiently to drain the fat off, then reduced the heat from 350° to 200.
I was using Aunt Muriel's special sauce. Sort of. I was short ketchup. Instead of a full cup, I had a little more than half, so I used barbeque sauce to make up the rest, poured in a dollop of water, added the three tablespoons of brown sugar and two squirts mustard, then decided maybe a bit more brown sugar would tone down the barbeque sauce, so I emptied the bag in. There wasn't THAT much left. Pouring the sauce on, it covered the entire meat loaf and went up the side of the bowl a good inch. Oh, well, maybe that's why mom always used a rectangular pan instead of a round bowl.
"I'm sure it will taste the same," I thought as I popped it back in the oven, slammed the door, spied the two baking potatoes with the holes poked in them sitting on the counter, added them to the shelf in the oven, shut the door again, and off we went.
Hamorita had WAX! Eagerly I climbed into the hay to get a good vantage point without disturbing the expectant mare. Jamie wandered off, and I found out that winter when the farmer went to feed out the hay that went to the ceiling that he'd created a cave in the hay.
Lunch time came and went. Hamorita quit eating. Eventually, she sort of squatted in the corner instead of lying down, and Deelyte went nose first into the water barrel! I leaped over the fence and with the help of the farmer, who was quite doddering and in his 80's, got her out before she drowned. Hamorita, never overly friendly, retreated to the far side of the stall and did not come to claim her filly.
"I know how to handle this," Simon confided with a sly wink. My Thoroughbreds were frequently temperamental."
Picking up a 15' length of stout iron pipe that had been lying along the side of the path between the hay and the mangers, he instructed me to help him rest it along the 2x4 part way up the wall on the far side of the wall. Gradually, using its pressure to guide her, we maneuvered Hamorita against the far wall of the stall, then haltered the pipe to a post, pinning her against the wall. Slowly and calmly, we guided Delight to the proper section of anatomy, then were satisfied to see Hamorita relax as the filly removed the pressure from her bag. When she began to lick her, we eased out, removed the halter and pole, and left mother and daughter in peace to bond.
My brother and I returned home to eat -- eight hours from when we'd left! The two potatoes were dried, shriveled hulks, but the sauce had saved the meat loaf! It was a bit dry, but the top 3/4 of it was permeated with a thick goo that was all that was left of the sauce. The entire one pound meat loaf disappeared at one sitting.
Jamie spent his summer mostly in frustration because he could not ride well. I mounted him on Hamorita's 3/4 sister Hamelah, who was well enough broke not to be dangerous, but green enough to give him a challenge. She was also pregnant for late August, which toned her down even more. By the end of the summer, he felt vindicated. All summer he'd been losing to children who had been riding most of their lives in Youth Showmanship, Junior Western Pleasure and other exacting classes, but at the last show, he used his last dollar to enter a "fun show" class that was NOT for points -- an event called Ride a Buck. Anyone of any age could enter on anything they cared to try to ride. A dollar bill was put under their knee, and the class was off. Style meant NOTHING. The rules were simple. You could NOT touch your dollar with anything other than your knee. Your mount had to actually perform the action called out over the PA. The last one with a dollar still under their knee won everyone else's money.
The class started out like a regular pleasure class. "Trot" bounced lots of people's dollars free, and the eagle eyes of the spotters stationed at various locations around the ring called the people out when theirs slipped, pulling them out of the way into the center of the ring. "Canter" was next, with no walking in between, a call that a lot of horses had to be coaxed to do, and more dollars rained down. "Reverse", done at a canter was an even bigger challenge. Bucks fell like flies in a hard frost.
Jamie was riding with one arm way high, using it for balance as he leaned tightly into Hamelah's side. About half of the riders who had been beating him all summer were now pulled into the center. He was grinning in triumph. No "horsemanship" points off for bad form here!
"Stop" came the abrupt cry, felling not only dollars, but one poor rider, unused to going bareback. Eventually, a figure eight at a canter was used, after the crowd of over 20 was dismissed from the arena. Now, green horses are NOT skilled in this maneuver, but nobody was mounted on a reining horse, so Jamie was still in the running, even though Hamelah had snuck in a few trotting steps. At least her gait was SMOOTH, not so for some of the other contestants.
Finally, only the top girl, the one who had been high point this and that all summer and Jamie were the only ones left. When a roll back was called, both horses were again over the heads of their riders and out of the extent of their training, but Jamie got Hamelah cranked around and back into a canter faster, while the never a hair out of place girl lost her speed, and her bill.
The grin on Jamie's face when the ring man handed him a pile of hairy, sweaty bills was beautiful to behold!
Eventually Hamelah became too pregnant to ride, producing a disappointingly solid bay stud colt, and Jamie returned to Rochester, a summertime success, where he again refused to eat Mom's next meat loaf, but raved about the one I had cooked at the start of the summer.
"Why don't you give me your recipe?" Mom asked in one weekly phone call.
"Huh? I use your recipe, with Aunt Muriel's sauce, but part of the ketchup was barbecue sauce."
So Mom tried again. She put in half a cup of ketchup and half a cup of barbecue sauce, but Jamie still wouldn't eat it.
"I used San's recipe," she coaxed.
"No, you didn't. You didn't cook it long enough," he told her. "Sandy cooks hers 8 hours!"
Lots of time has passed since that day. Grandfather Hugus passed away, so Jamie began going by grandfather's name, which was actually his own middle name, Ray. I moved to another part of the county, where I could have my horses on the property with me. Hamelah was sold to a family in New Jersey, producing a fine Pinto son for them. Hamorita went on to produce 15 more bay tobiano Pintos before she passed on at the venerable horse age of 22, after having a super show career on the side. I have never produced a meatloaf eaten with quite the "relish" of the one that summer.