Existential Meatloaf Crisis

I was chatting with my parents during our usual Sunday phone call yesterday and they asked what we were having for dinner.

“Grilled meatloaf,” I replied, and launched into this lengthy narrative about how you preheat the grill to 350º, leaving one burner off, and place the meatloaf on a sheet of aluminum foil over indirect heat for 90 minutes, then let it rest for another 45, after which time you slice it, turn the grill back up to 450º, oil the grates, sear the meatloaf for three minutes on each side, slather on homemade barbecue sauce, let it cook for another minute, and then serve.

After listening to these complicated instructions, my mom said, “Now, why would you go to all that trouble when you can just throw a meatloaf in the oven for an hour?”

I mumbled something about “spreading your wings and expanding your culinary horizons,” but honestly, her response sent me tumbling into a bit of an existential crisis as I wondered whether I was overcomplicating my life. This was supposed to be my year of leisure, after all. Meatloaf is just about the easiest thing in the world to make, and yet there I was, turning a simple one-step dinner into an eight-part process so tricky you practically need a flowchart or Venn diagram to dissect it.

Don’t get me wrong: the meatloaf was delicious. But awfully labor-intensive considering the primary trade-off was a few well-placed sear marks. And I didn’t even take a pic, which is pretty much the entire point of pretty-looking food. Which begs the question: if there’s no visual evidence on Instagram, did the meatloaf even exist?


Random photo from my walk this morning. I loved the dramatic clouds and the rainbow. The fact that I was walking past a cemetery just added to the allure.

This was a harbinger for what was to come later. We got quite a bit of rain today thanks to thunderstorms that rolled through in the afternoon. Thankfully, there was no hail this time.


We’re working on narrowing down choices for our still-unnamed boat. I’m not sure if we love any of them enough to officially christen her, but I’d like your input anyway. Our top contenders are listed below. Please vote for one; at least that’ll give us some idea of the reaction we’ll get from other passersby (boatersby?) the next time we’re on the water.

My parents arrive tomorrow afternoon for a weeklong visit. It’ll be the first time we’ve seen them in over nine months so we’re looking forward to it! There’s beer in the fridge for dad (Crow Peak 11th Hour IPA) and wine for mom (Cupcake Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc), so I guess we’re pretty set!

28 Comments on “Existential Meatloaf Crisis

  1. Oh. This one is so simple…because the grill is OUR domain. The oven is not. The oven is for cupcakes and tarts and pies and stuff. Not meat. When we lift the lid and get a whiff of that smoke, it releases a level of Neanderthal that is what, 2 millions years in the making? An oven cannot do that. The time and effort is hardly what is at stake here, it is the the pure fact that EVERYTHING tastes better off the grill. Except maybe cupcakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t help but also wonder why you were going to that much trouble, but I’m not fond of cooking and rarely take pics of my food, so who am I to say? Also, how’s that for a run-on sentence?
    The sky pic was terrific. I voted for Ship Faced, with Don’t Call Me Shirley as the back-up. I think you should’ve put my stoop/porch suggestion in the running, too, however.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark, okay, my mouth was literally watering as I was reading your recipe for grilled meatloaf! That sounded so deeeeeeelicious! And I honestly feel that you weren’t making it more complicated, I just think your were taking something simple and making it into something “special.” I liked your idea of searing it. Yum-my!

    As you know, I love cemeteries, so that photo is stunning! It’s got such a moody-feel to it. Almost, Goth!

    Enjoy the arrival of your parents!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ron! Your comment provides total validation. I don’t feel so badly about going to all that trouble with the meatloaf now.

      Hope you enjoy the rest of your week (and will be seeing some cooler weather, too).

      Like

  4. “Did the meatloaf even exist” is what I thought about the tree disappearing finally from our backyard….no more hurricane material to hone in on the roof. The only evidence of good food is the photo and a few lbs. we try to exercise off, sometimes. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One thing I haven’t cooked on the barbie is meatloaf. I did make spaghetti sauce with cherry tomatoes on the grill once. The smokey flavour was fantastic. But…it’s just easier (and cooler) to cook sauce indoors… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never even thought about cooking sauce on the grill. It’s not a bad idea, actually; especially when it’s hot. At least that way you’re not warming up the house, and other than giving the pot an occasional stir, it’ll pretty much cook itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When it comes to meatloaf there is no right or wrong. However I understand your existential crisis. I believe things exist even if they’re not on IG. Perhaps I’m just fooling myself– or maybe the people on IG are fooling me? Who’s to say?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So much of IG is curated and filtered, it’s not even reality.

    Except for my photos. Because I don’t believe in over complicating things. (But I also have a husband to cook for me, so take my privilege with a grain of pink Himalayan sea salt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like to keep my photos on IG real, too. And I will see your pink Himalayan sea salt and raise you a package of Jacobsen Pure Flake Finishing Sea Salt, hand-harvested from the Oregon coast.

      (I’m not challenging your hubby to a cook-off, though. I’ve read enough of your blog to know he’d hand me my ass on a plate.)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Unsure where my comment went from this morning, but my most hated food as a child was meatloaf. Since my husband liked it, I learned to make edible mini loaves smothered in a homemade bbq sauce.

    And that’s my meatloaf story. Enjoy your time with the ‘rents.

    Liked by 1 person

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