Sunday, July 26, 2009

Meatlof, Hugh Jackman, Hell, and Me

Sometimes, I read the food column in the New York Times Sunday Magazine just to see how much I won't like it. For example, flipping through the pages I wonder if this week the essay will it be about foodies in California who make too much food for dinner but since it's all local they feel good and maybe even smug about it? Or will it be and essay with a recipe that I wouldn't make in a thousand years because where am I going to get trotters anyway? Today I began the column with some trepidation because it was about Nora Ephron and being invited to a dinner party for her that was on the Upper West Side even though anyone who read her boo-hoo I had to leave the Apthorp essay in the The New Yorker a few years back knows she bought an apartment on the East Side. Or maybe that was in the version of that essay that was included in I Feel Bad about My Neck that told us that; either way Nora had to find a new hairdresser for convenience sake and that's hard but her pot luck dinner with a writer and editor from the New York Times who was glad to be there was on the Upper West Side.

I digress.

My point is that I liked today's column about cooking for Nora. It made me want to read Julia Child's memoir and it reminded me that I like meatloaf, something that I tend to forget, not only in the summertime but because I didn't used to like meatloaf. I grew up loathing it and only started to like it a little bit when I got married and my husband told me he made really good meatloaf. He did, once a year. Then, after about eight years of marriage I got a cookbook called Kitchen Playdates by Lauren Deen (which I recommend) and in it there's a recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf. Yes. That's right. Meatloaf wrapped in bacon. I really wanted to make it. A lot. The only problem was when we'd moved from Philadelphia to New York I'd decided that while my new house wouldn't be kosher, we wouldn't have any pork. No pork means no bacon and no bacon means no bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and I really wanted bacon-wrapped meatloaf. I thought about this. I started to wonder if a house that allowed cheese and turkey sandwiches was really all that different than a house that allowed cheese and ham sandwiches. I mean, once you mixed milk and meat did it really matter what kind of meat did the mixing? And so why not make ham and cheese at home.... or, say, beef and ground pork and smoked pork belly? Would allowing pork in my house that already wasn't kosher send me from the level of hell where I just had to chat with Paris Hilton and Katherine Heigl on regular basis down much deeper to the one where I had to go to a multi-course dinner party every night where Hugh Jackman would be my dinner partner and he would break into show tunes between courses? At first it might sound fun, and Hugh seems so nice and down to earth, not to mention cute. But night after night of anyone singing show tunes between the amuse and the soup? Even Hugh? I mean, that's hell.

But then, thanks G-d, I remembered that (most) Jews don't believe in the afterlife and if I made the meatloaf with the bacon I wouldn't have to worry about dinner with Hugh, night after night. So I made it and it was totally worth it. But, truth be told, sometimes when I'm stuck on the subway, I start singing show tunes to myself, you know, to practice, just in case I have to sing along.

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