When you try to reminisce your childhood, what do you remember first? Probably you will say something about the games you play, or the antics you used to do. How about your mom’s comfort foods? Ahhh, of course, all the memories rush in. Home-made food that only moms can perfect, such as mac and cheese. And of course, the timeless meatloaf. We can still remember those times that we feel down and only mom’s meatloaf lifted our spirits. This experience happens because we know that moms poured all their effort and love to the dish. Albeit it lacks an ingredient or two, surely it is the perfect meatloaf for all of us.
Where Did Baked Meatloaf Start?
Alright, enough with the sentimental thoughts. Anyway, who invented this excellent dish? You see, this simple soul food has a colorful history to boast about. The ancient Romans mentioned this dish on their cookery collection called the Apicius, dated back as early as the 5th century. The modern meatloaf we have today traces its roots from the original German. And in which the Germans hid boiled eggs in it because why not? Right?
Anyway, the Romans love their old meatloaves with bread, pine-nuts, and spices soaked in wine. Thus, which I guess gives it an added oomph or something. Also, during the medieval times in Europe, Europeans added seasonings in it, as well as fruits and nuts. Meatloaf started as, you guessed it, a loaf of ground meat. And people around the world began to add their flair into the dish later on.
Evolution Of Baked Meatloaf And Its Popularization
Of course, people back then have a hard time doing this dish. Because of the simple reason: they ground the meat, manually. Afterward, between 1800 and early 20th century, three essential factors transformed meatloaf into an all-time classic. And these factors include:
- The creation of the meat grinder,
- The invention of the modern refrigeration, and of course,
- The Great Depression.
Thus, this evolves the meatloaf from a dish during special occasions to a staple in every dining table. The first two factors enable the meatloaf to become commercially available. And these factors gives people an easy way to make and preserve their meatloaf. During the Great Depression, meatloaf soared in popularity. Because of, you know, obvious reasons. First, it was easy to produce, since it uses undesirable (usually the tough) cuts of meats. Second, you can use fillers such as mashed potatoes or add bread slices on it as an extender. Thus, stretching its serving amount. And three. It’s a tough time for the people and the economy. And people need something to comfort them and is also filling enough.
Meatloaf During War
During World War II, people need to re-route a considerable portion of their necessary supplies to help the war effort. Also, this is the time when people are consuming more canned and processed foods than ever before. These canned soups, powdered gravy and sauces, and condiments increase the appeal. And the taste of meatloaf as well. Also, during that time, companies also provided recipes for meatless loaves. The ingredients include soybeans, rice and even nuts as a meat substitute.
Adaptations of Baked Meatloaf
We all know today that meatloaf comes in one form or another depending on the country. In South America, people usually add ham, carrots, boiled eggs, sausages. And other local produce to make their variation of the dish. In Europe, meats such as wild game, pork, beef, and venison are used and seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, or any seasoning available in the region.
Other parts of the world also added their take on the dish, like the:
- Filipino Embutido,
- Vietnamese Giò,
- Turkish Dalyan Köfte,
- South African Bobotie,
- Mongolian Khoochmal, and so on.
Meatloaf is now considered as one of the staple comfort food around the world from its humble beginnings to its garnered fame from all over the world. Surely, the meatloaf will never go out of the top 100 list in the culinary scene.