Monday, May 10, 2010

The EatHere bulletin board

Stuff you post on a bulletin board: notes, schedules, updates, coming events: works in progress. I have 2 exciting works in progress to talk about, and others that seem to have emerged from their intersection.

Reminders. This is a picture of jasmine, just coming into full bloom, growing against a huge framework of thunbergia which twines itself up along a hickory tree every year, and has become an annual joy since Miss Inga gave it to me for my birthday about 200 years ago. It reminds me, as the beautiful tiny pink roses from last night's blog do, of resurgence, of spring, of my heart's sisters whose graces can't be confined to a bulletin board post.

Alzheimers. I've been writing about its effect on my family, and mean to keep doing so. Rodney's dad was badly afflicted with it. So was a much-loved uncle, sister of his mother. As hard as it is to talk about Alzheimers, it's too scary NOT to talk about when it's found on both sides of the family, and its destruction lurks too closely for comfort.

Teaching. My dear old voice teacher Sister Patricia Eileen, who taught me what it meant to find my own voice, is herself (irony of ironies) suffering from dementia. She's been retired for some years, and although remembered with energy, inspiration and laughter by individuals, she has been collectively forgotten, I think, and this small humble blog has begun to put energy behind Not Forgetting. We are using the tentative beginnings of my blog recolllections to help frame reminiscence.

What do they mean, together? For me, for my sisters, for our friends and their friends? This will come from the work we do in the next year or two, I think. And more: Michelle's own Not Forgetting (by which I mean, connections made InRealLife, outside the confines of the blog) is driving us (both) to help voice some people with Downs Syndrome, another exploratory path with its own unwritten ending.

And in the short-term, kind comments following last night's post about Mother's Day breakfast and the simple fare of the night preceding have inspired a new direction for tonight. Usually I respond to comments with comments. Last night seemed worthy of a different approach, though. Ms. Moon and Michelle were sweet enough to take pleasure in a shared Mother's Day and a new photo of Rodney and me, squinting into the generous sunlight of a May afternoon.

Dylan's gorgeous golden pancakes got the attention of our Lulu, who knows a thing or two about good food AND about serving it beautifully. I'm working on the Home Visit Pancake Man thing, Lulu. To my surprise Dylan announced his pancakes would have been better had I provided fresh blueberries. Hmm. I suspect he has listened mor closely to Miss Lis than previously believed. In any case, let's see whether he's willing to take his Pancake Act on the road. They're worth getting up early for, that's for sure. In your case, I expect pancakes might be delivered day or night.

From Suldog, there was a well-timed reminder that the image of Mother's Day breakfast will remain with me always, even without the photo. And I think he was inspired by the Mother's Day Vigil menu, plates (photos) prepared by me, as was our dear Michelle H., who asked me for the meat loaf recipe. The rest of you can stop reading here. In honor of a fine writer, an excellent friend, and a person whose livelihood has been endangered by people apparently too blind to see the value of her presence as a member of any team, here is the recipe Michelle H. requested. To the rest of you, thank you for your continued care, and lots of love until next time.

Michelle H., here are my secrets. I believe my meat loaf to be the central reason for the naming of the imaginary restaurant my family envisioned some years ago. It was one of those meals that everyone loved, one that yielded leftovers that never lasted long. So if we ever HAD a restaurant, this would be featured.

You can make it with whatever ground meat you can live with, whether turkey or chicken or bison; in its humble form at our house, I use ground beef, ground pork and ground bison if available, about a third of each. And in this recipe, we're using roughly 1-1/2 pounds of meat.

Using a nice big mixing bowl, place the meat, about 1/4 cup each of finely chopped onion, green pepper and garlic, more or less, to your taste. Add one egg, a dash of ketchup (perhaps 1/4 cup, or a little less) and one slice of bread, finely ground into crumbs. I've found a slightly stale slice of bread can be broken in half and the two halves ground against each other to make crumbs....whatever works for you, but fresh bread crumbs is what you're after. (In a pinch, you can use 1/4 cup of uncooked oatmeal, crushed crackers, or dry bread crumbs. It's Angie at EatHere cooking, so more art than science.) Add a dash of Texas Pete (or just some black pepper) and 1/2 tsp. of salt (I like kosher salt). A dash of Wocestershire sauce is good if you have it, as is a bit of dried basil and one of marjoram; some people like a touch of oregano, too. Tread carefully, as these are all things you can add. You just can't take them out. Now use one hand to blend all the ingredients together (mixing really well) and shape into a loaf. Place in pan (I prefer a cast iron skillet, and often cook on the grill outside). Bake at about 325 degrees for an hour or so.

Meanwhile - and here's the 1960s Redbook, Woman's Day or whatever women's magazine my mother read back then - becomes important. It directed he creation of a simple sauce of 1/2 cup of ketchup, 1/8 cup of yellow mustard, about 1/8 cup of brown sugar and just a touch of ground cloves, whisked together. Use this to glaze the meat loaf about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Be sure you have enough to use for meat loaf sandwiches to take to work the next day.

Michelle, DO NOT TELL anyone this recipe. It's a super top-secret revelation of the 1960s but I'm delighted to share it with you. In fact, I'd love to cook it for you, so let me know when you've started to take over the world as the great writer you are. I'll be ready.

EatHereEatery bulletin board readers: thank you. Thanks for staying with us, thanks for waiting us out. Mostly, thanks for watching for what I hope will be the fine work to come, as I dredge the Alzheimers memories myself and partner with old friends and new to create a portrait of our dear Sister Patricia. Stay tuned.


  1. *claps hands excitedly* Thank YOU!!! This is so close to the recipe I once had but lost. All the others I tried had either too much egg added or too much Worcestershire sauce (which I like, but not at the amounts the other recipes warranted). And that GLAZE!

    You have no idea. You really don't. I had a type of fish glaze like this, baked in the oven with sauteed onions, and couldn't remember the exact one for that either. This is close enough to the original sauce where I might be able to fiddle with it and get it to how I want. You are so wonderful Angela! Big hugs from me to you!

  2. Michelle, BIG HUGS are reciprocated!
    But you gotta tell me about this baked fish recipe, in exchange...
    Of course, in fairness, you DID become queen of the jambalaya recipe earlier this year...

  3. I love the way that recipe reads. Makes me feel like I'm in the kitchen watching you create a magic meatloaf.

    I'm thinking you should make a Story Corp recording about Sister Patricia. Just heard the creator interviewed on Friday's Democracy Now and it's such an awesome thing. The interviews are so moving I cry every time I hear one. They're starting up a version specifically for those newly diagnosed with Alzheimers so they can record conversations with loved ones and keep the memories alive forever.


  4. Oh, Michelle, I cry every time I hear one of those, too! There was a time, when it was really rough with Rodney's dad, that I recall turning OFF the radio on Fridays because I couldn't stand to hear them. I do think SPE's story is a big one, and am as excited about capturing at (or at least, our collective memories of it) as I am about working on Kim's many lives touched and changed. Part of me knows that SPE would laugh her head off to know I am sharing this whole experience with you, and all our blog brothers and sisters, and GANESH. Love, love!

  5. I'll let you know the fish recipe, once I get the ingredients right from memory. Don't want to send it and forget something AGAIN!

  6. Michelle H., fine, but standing know how I love a good recipe. Can't wait to hear and don't forget to tell me what kinds of fish work best in the recipe. Love, love.


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