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.

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