My Grandma’s Meatloaf Is Better Than Yours

Over the weekend, one of my best friends, Jess, came over for dinner and drinks. I bragged to her about how I was going to make the BEST meatloaf she’d ever had. It was my grandma’s recipe. Any of those other cheese and bacon stuffed meatloaf recipes are just bullshit. This was the only recipe she’d ever want or need. Understandably, Jess was a little skeptical. By the end of dinner, she was raving. And so will you  😉

When I started this blog, I knew this was the first recipe I wanted to share. It’s one of the first things my Grandma taught me how to cook. I have a couple of recipes she shared that I keep in my culinary arsenal. For me, these recipes help keep her alive. In this blog post I am paying tribute, not just to her culinary skills, but to the woman herself.

My Gram during World War II, New York City


Gram and Yours Truly after my First Holy Communion, 1983

Gram. I still hear her voice in my head whenever I wonder what she would say about a particular situation. While I can’t possibly recount everything she taught me, here are some of her words of wisdom that have stuck with me:

  • Don’t follow every fashion trend that comes out. Buy clothes that look good on you and will still be in style 10 years from now.
  • If you can walk away from something in a store, you probably didn’t really want it in the first place. Don’t buy it.
  • Think before you speak or write. Words can never be taken back, especially when they’re in black and white.
  • What goes around, comes around..only worse. Or was it, Payback’s a bitch?
  • Don’t go outside with a wet head; that’s how you get pneumonia.
  • When asked how she knew Grandpa was the one, she said, “I just knew I didn’t want to see anyone else anymore.” They were married after 7 months of dating and celebrated 35 years together when he died.
  • Travel while you’re able to enjoy it. (I know she would have loved to have traveled more than she was able to in her lifetime.)

One blog post doesn’t begin to tell you everything I want to share about my Gram. To say that she was a special lady just scratches the surface. The best I can hope for is that she is reading this post over your shoulder and she is smiling. Happy cooking, my friends!

Grandma's Homemade Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. Bob Evan’s Savory Sage sausage (blue package)
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (more as needed)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (or A-1 steak sauce)
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • salt/pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Break up ground beef and sausage in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the meats.
  3. Using your hands, mix ingredients together until combined and formed into a ball.
  4. Place meat mixture on foil lined baking sheet and form into a rectangular shape with rounded corners. Using your fingers, gently even out the top of your meatloaf.
  5. Put meatloaf in the oven and cook for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer to serving plate, slice and enjoy!

Looking Inside a US Citizenship Ceremony

“It was but an historical accident no doubt that this great country was called the ‘United States’; yet I am very thankful that it has that word ‘United’ in its title, and the man who seeks to divide man from man, group from group, interest from interest in this great Union is striking at its very heart.” – President Woodrow Wilson

One of my day jobs is teaching English as a Second Language to adults in my community. After about 15 years,  it truly is one of my life’s passions. I’ve often described the experience as being able to travel the world without needing a passport, but it’s so much more for me today.

From March through October last  year, I taught an evening citizenship interview prep class. In January, one of my students called me to say he had passed the interview. I was over the moon and told him how proud I was. He thanked me for my help over and over again. In the next breath he said, “Teri, you have to come to the ceremony. I want to take picture with you because you’re my teacher  You helped me.”  How could I say no to that? “Of course! I’d love to be there,” I said. On March 8, I made my way to downtown Erie to fulfill that promise.

New citizens listening to speakers at naturalization ceremony

New citizens swearing the Oath of Allegiance

The ceremony started with the new citizens swearing their Oath of Allegiance.  I’ll freely admit that I got choked up and teary eyed when I listened to the group chime the oath in unison. As I watched these 45 people pledge their allegiance to their new home, I became deeply aware that I was bearing witness to a most sacred rite of passage. The men and women sitting in front of me were no longer immigrants, refugees, or permanent residents. They were now my fellow Americans, and they were officially part of our tribe.

After the ceremony, I found my student with his friends. He was vibrating with excitement — beaming with a well-deserved pride. The feelings were so contagious that I gave him a bear hug. And, as I promised, we posed for a picture.

An old college friend once told me that one of his most treasured possessions was the photo he took with the judge on the day of his ceremony. On this day, I finally understood what he was saying.