Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

October 12, 2013

Life as I Know It: It's simple. Everybody likes a little meatloaf, right?

I’ve been thinking about meatloaf lately.

Of course, I’m talking about the comfort food, not the rock star.

For as long as I can remember eating it, I have loved the flavor of, the simplicity of and the pure comfort of my mom’s concoction of ground beef, saltine crackers, a fresh egg, a can of tomato soup and a little bit of salt and pepper.

Your mom may have put hers together differently, but what was that, four ingredients and a little seasoning? Add a bowl of mashed potatoes and you fed your family of six and maybe even somebody else’s kid who might have shown up at the dinner table.

But what I liked best is that it was just that: meatloaf.

Few ingredients and fewer words.

Perhaps the best piece of advice that I’ve ever taken as a writer is this: whenever choosing between a long word and a short word, chose the short word and then start looking for a shorterone. I give Ernest Hemingway credit for that advice without even knowing his feelings about meatloaf.

“It was meatloaf and I liked it,” I imagine him saying.

I’m not saying that I am anything close to Ernest Hemingway, but that certainly sounds Hemingway-ish to me. So I’m going to assume that we could have been on the same page, at least in what made our mouths water.

What I’m trying to say here is that I’m a pretty simple guy.

In a foodie-driven town that can’t decide if it should have more beer or more coffee, I’m sitting at the dinner table savoring my mother’s meatloaf.

In a world driven by iPhone, Android and whatever keeps us from making meaningful human contact with anybody else, I’m a landline home.

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