Monday, May 15, 2017

A Meatloaf in Every Oven by Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer

A Meatloaf in Every Oven
by Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer [641.636 Bru]

I found this brand-new title on the New Books display at the downtown library and gave it a quick browse. I’m glad I did, because this is a charming little cookbook! I grew up in a household where meatloaf was cooked in a rectangular bread loaf pan, basically 9″ x 5″ x 2.5″. My mom’s meatloaf was always perfectly fine — generally pretty moist, with a mixture of meats, packed densely, and topped in the oven with a spicy ketchup topping. After I grew up, got exposed to a wide variety of cookbooks, and cooking shows like Alton Brown’s Good Eats on The Food Network, I expanded my horizons — I now know that I prefer to cook my meatloaf as a dome shape on a flat sheet — I get more of the crispier “crust” that way.

In A Meatloaf in Every Oven, subtitled “Two chatty cooks, one iconic dish and dozens of recipes — from Mom’s to Mario Batali’s”, authors Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer, both of whom are journalists working for the New York Times, discuss the history and traditions of meatloaf (in many different forms) in many different cultures around the world. The bulk of the book, however, is a listing of 50 different recipes and instructions for diverse and divergent types of meatloaf. The recipes/instructions are basically simple and straightforward, and each recipe includes a bit of background about the person or persons who provided it to the author, and what makes that recipe especially unique. The book is divided into chapters: (1) Classics; (2) Around the World; (3) Lamb; (4) Cluck Cluck Gobble Gobble; (5) Meatless Loaves; (6) Guilty Pleasures; (7) Political Postscripts — recipes from four prominent politicians, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Susan Collins and Chuck Schumer; and (8) Sides. Each chapter features an introductory “dialog” between Bruni and Steinhauer, often quite funny, but also thought-provoking.

Some of these recipes sound absolutely delicious, while others make me wonder exactly how they’d turn out! Some examples of some of the recipe titles, just to pique your interest: “Beef, Pork and Cremini Mushroom Loaf”, “Clean Out the Fridge Meatloaf”, “Bobby Flay’s Korean-Style Meatloaf With Spicy Glaze”, “Japanese Loaf with Miso and Mirin”, “Meatloaf with Moroccan Flair”, “Michael White’s Chicken Eggplant Loaf”, “Crab and Shrimp Loaf Muffins”, “Homely Homey Blue and Bacon Loaf” and “Ricotta Meatball Loaf”. There’s so much to digest here, I may have to get this one for myself! The only thing I have to complain about with this cookbook is that I like having photos/illustrations to go with most recipes, so I know how it’s supposed to come out. There’s not a single photo or illustrative graphic in this book! Otherwise, a fascinating read!

[ publisher’s official A Meatloaf in Every Oven web page]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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