Sunday, September 8, 2013

Homestyle Meatloaf and a Crisis

Every little thing counts in a crisis. – Jawaharlal Nehru 

Homestyle. That’s quite a word. It conjures up all kinds of warm and happy memories for me, and probably you as well. 

"Hearth and home" are important to me, but it’s the people in my life that define those terms. It doesn’t matter where I am. Home truly is where the heart is. I know where my heart is, in spades.

I’m going to diverge from meatloaf and get personal. It truly is who is in your life that is important. Everything else – and I mean absolutely everything – is just the trimmings.

If you truly love someone show them every day by your actions. Not just your words. Words, although nice, can ring hollow. Always show your love, because you just never know...

It’s amazing how fast things can change. Three days ago I had planned a nice visit to the city for the weeekend.

Someone I love with all my heart (besides my spouse of course) is our Bouvier Henry, who will be 9 years old in January. We’ve had quite a scare over the last few days. 

About a week ago we noticed blood in his urine. Up until then his health, at least what we knew, was fine. On Friday, since it hadn’t cleared up, he went back down to the vet. They did some x-rays and found a very large growth in his abdomen close to his kidneys. It had to have been there for quite some time. He had no signs of trouble at all before the urine.

Currently he’s in the vets for the weekend after some very serious surgery to remove a mass and a kidney. At the time the doctor gave him a 50% chance of surviving it. We actually had to give permission to euthanize him if the operation went badly.

That is a decision many of us have had to make for our fur childern, and those who have know how very, very hard it is. And emotionally traumatizing. They give so much happiness when they are with you and so much pain when they leave.

Within the space of a few hours we went from having a boy with a bladder infection to one on a surgical table that may have had to be euthanized. When I left him I hugged and kissed him and said goodbye, but never thought it would possibly be “goodbye.” Talk about walking on quicksand.

Luckily, at time of writing, he seems to have pulled through well and he is doing "wonderfully." considering. Some of the tissue is off for examination to see if it’s the “C” word. We’re hoping beyond hope that won’t be the case.

I would imagine I will have a very sore yet happy boy when he comes home. He will get as much love, care, sympathy and attention as can possibly be given, to be sure. I'm certain all the staff at South Shore Vet are in our absence. They're great, great folks.

The point is, you just never know. I know my example is a cherished pet, but the same holds true for everyone in your life. You just never know what might happen.

So show those you love how much you care. I really mean it. Measure your words. Are you being hurtful for no purpose? Do you have to be short tempered, really? Daily life can be stressful – but those who you love, and love you, are your support to weather the storms, not your whipping posts.

Value and cherish the time you have with them. I’ll say it again. You just never know.

Well, enough of that... If you have time to make a meatloaf give this one a try. It's good to have on hand as leftovers when you're not up to cooking. It’s good, basic and homey, and will remind you of times you shared with those most precious to you.

Best Homestyle Meatloaf
Prep: 15 min  |  Cook 1 hr 15 min  |  Serves 6-8
750 g medium ground beef
250 g ground bacon
1 thick slice of bread, grated
1 egg
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup pasta or tomato sauce
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix together with your hands until completely combined.

Place the meat in a 5” x 9” ovenproof dish, Shape the meat so the edges are lower than the centre. This will allow fat to collect in the dish as opposed to the bottom of your oven.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the centre of the meatloaf reads 160°F.

Remove the loaf from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Then pour off the collected fat.

Slice, serve and enjoy!


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