I loaf you

January 25, 2023


In my long history of exploding food (technically, the hushpuppies weren’t my creation. I was only an observer – but there’s a biscuit story I’ve yet to tell . . . ), I’ve recently added a new exploding meatloaf. 

My grandmother once dropped her heaviest cast-iron skillet full of hot cornbread all over the floor. “My hands just gave-out — went all weak on me,” she explained. 

“Poor old thing.” I thought. 

And then, last week, as I was pulling an extra-large, perfectly formed meatloaf out of the oven, my hands just gave-out — went all weak on me. 

Poor old me. 

In reality, it was weakness combined with a near-burn I received from a thinning spot in my potholder. It’s my favorite potholder, so I’ve kept it too long, and this is what happens.  The new thicker quilted potholders sit unused while I risk danger using the one that’s seen too many years of use. Why do I hang on to it? It’s not sentimental, it just works better than the others – well, up until now it did. 

My practical, easy-to clean brick floor made quick work of my mother’s old cornflower blue Pyrex loaf dish. (Double angst, because I loved that old dish).   It didn’t just “splat” on the floor,  but exploded like a melon hit by a missile.  Erupting across the room and up towards my face, the sizzling meat and glass bomb covered the entire kitchen. 

I thought of the eggs wasted, now, almost as expensive as the meat. $7 a dozen! What is the world coming to? 

It was my son’s last night home before returning to college for the spring semester and he had requested his favorite meatloaf. Thank goodness I had made an extra smaller loaf for him to take back to school. We ate that one for dinner and early the next morning, I did what any good mother would do. I woke up early and made him a big pot of chicken and dumplings. Packed in my traditional Southern travel Tupperware set of matching Cool-whip bowls, secured with rubber bands, I placed them in a cooler to make the trip back to Birmingham. 

It was supposed to be a way for me to love my son, but instead, he rushed in with care, and along with his dad took care of the mess, and my burnt hand. Still a kitchen full of love, just not the way I planned. 

Food stories often end this way. Imperfect dinners, plans gone awry, broken dishes, dogs darting in and out, yet our “loaf” for one another remains. 

Read about the book Exploding Hushpuppies.

Thanks for trying to leave comments - everyone using the WordPress format seems to be having issues, but thank you for trying. - Let me know if you are commenting on a mobile device or desk/lap top. 

  • Oh ouch, and yikes! Aren’t you smart to have a meatloaf in reserve! So sweet that they cleaned up for you…I hate kitchen fails, they make me crazy…every time I pull something out of the oven, I pray I’m not going to drop it, not as strong as I used to be 😂 Was your exploding meatloaf a “bless your heart” moment 🙂

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Totally needed the heart blessed! Thanks for that!

  • Commenting on my iPhone…I come from a long line of loafers. How can it get more special? Making a delicious, healthy dinner for one’s family on an ordinary weeknight? Time to sit and talk, catch up on the day…it’s a gift in so many ways.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Absolutely right! It’s the time together that matters most – even if cleaning up a hot mess. – thanks Jennie.

  • Pam Richardson says:

    I am sorry about your exploding meatloaf, it sounds horrendous. You are a good Mama getting up early to make chicken and dumplings. I am so thankful my son has chickens and more eggs than we can eat!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      A son with eggs? Now that’s a good man!

  • Love your stories!
    iPhone 14

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you and WOW! You blew my theory about the phones not working for comments! Thanks so much.

  • So many stories about food/lovegoing awry! But we must keep on showing our love with delicious – or even barely average – meals!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Yes, love and food, and the love of food are all heartbreakers – or heart-burners at some point!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      No iPad trouble? Now I’m baffled. thanks.

  • Sounds like a lovely mess.

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