Review: A Meatloaf in Every Oven: Two Chatty Cooks, One Iconic Dish and Dozens of Recipes – from Mom’s to Mario Batali’s by Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer

 

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The definitive guide to an American classic though the lens of New York Times journalists Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer’s culinary friendship.

Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer share a passion for meatloaf and have been exchanging recipes via phone, email, text and instant message for decades. A MEATLOAF IN EVERY OVEN is their homage to a distinct tradition, with 50 killer recipes, from the best classic takes to riffs by world-famous chefs like Bobby Flay and Mario Batali; from Italian polpettone to Middle Eastern kibbe to curried bobotie; from the authors’ own favorites to those of prominent politicians. Bruni and Steinhauer address all the controversies (Ketchup, or no? Sauté the veggies?) surrounding a dish that has legions of enthusiastic disciples and help you to troubleshoot so you never have to suffer a dry loaf again.

This love letter to meatloaf incorporates history, personal anecdotes and even meatloaf sandwiches, all the while making you feel like you’re cooking with two trusted and knowledgeable friends.

Rating: 5 Stars

Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food in my house. It’s rare that we have it these days, to be honest, because with our work schedules my husband and I rarely have the time or energy to pull together a recipe like one of the ones found in this book. However, reading this book gave me the inspiration to at least try to reinstate Meatloaf Sunday, wherein we’ll try yet another of these recipes.

Even if you made one of these recipes every week it would take you almost a year to make them all because there are dozens of recipes from the traditional beef to pork to ones that include seafood. Those are the ones that surprised me the most because I’d never heard of a meatloaf like that. Thankfully, the authors of this book managed to find a good variety when bringing these recipes together.

Of the recipes included, my favorite non-traditional one was probably the Crab and Shrimp Loaf Muffins. They’re great because not only do they include two delicious seafood meats, but they’re also good for either an entree or an appetizer, depending on how many muffins you serve. The recipe I most enjoyed trying out from the more traditional chapters was the Jewish Christmas Loaf, an amazing recipe that takes a ground beef mixture and adds five-spice powder, soy sauce, and Asian garlic sauce to season not only the beef, but to top it all off with the glaze.

I learned a lot from this book besides the variety of recipes as well. There were methods for sauteing onions before cooking, which I never really thought of. Also, soaking bread in milk before mixing it in with the meat to give it more moisture was a tip I’d never heard before. The final chapter in the book was where I found the most help for planning a meal around meatloaf. Entitled “Eight: Sides”, it offers sides options from macaroni and cheese to roasted broccoli to a Midwestern potato salad that sounds like something right off a picnic menu. I’m used to seeing accompanying dishes neglected in a book focusing on main courses, so this was a pleasant inclusion.

At the beginning of each chapter, the authors have a bit of a chat session which gives an insight into why they chose the recipes they included. Some of the recipes are from personal friends, some are from celebrity chefs such as Alex Guarnaschelli and Bobby Flay. These friendly introductions, as well as the fact that the book takes sides into account as well as the main dish, make it a fun recipe book that has something for practically anyone.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.
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