So That’s Why They Call it Comfort Food


Five days after Hurricane Sandy pillaged the Eastern Seaboard, I was on the phone with my Dad. Neither of us had our power or heat back yet, so we were both trying to wrap up the conversation quickly to conserve our cellphone batteries. The sun was going down and I was running down a mental list of which friend’s house we should invite ourselves to for dinner next. My father was doing the same, then added “All I want is a slice of meatloaf.”

When it comes to food, my dad has always been an enthusiast (see: dessert), but I can’t ever remember him talking about meatloaf with such reverence. I never have, either. I mean I’m never going to turn it down, but it’s not something I wake up craving either. Needless to say, as soon as we hung up, meatloaf was all I could think about. Specifically my mother-in-law’s meatloaf, the one that’s baked smeared with ketchup and two strips of bacon laid across the top. I mentioned this to the girls, who were underneath seventeen blankets in front of the fire. “Mmmm,” said Phoebe with a dreamy look in her eyes, “That sounds really good. Can we have it with mashed potatoes and butter?”

When we got our power back two nights later, we knew exactly what we’d eat to celebrate.

Classic Meatloaf
See: “A Recipe Starter Kit” Page 20, Dinner: A Love Story. (I went with all ground turkey.)

It would be wise to make enough to ensure for meatloaf sandwiches later in the week. Freeze whatever is leftover, but make sure you slice it before doing so. Then reheat in a baking dish covered with foil at 350°F for about 20 minutes. Or if you transfer the slices to the fridge on the morning of the night you’d like to eat them, Andy would like you to know that they’ll taste just fine cold, on good bread, slathered with ketchup and mayo.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

4 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into thirds or quarters
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup cream, half & half, or milk
salt and pepper

In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until a knife can slip through the biggest one with no resistance. It usually takes about 15 minutes. Drain and return pot to stove.

Add butter and about 1/2 cup of milk (or cream) and heat until warm and butter has melted. Heat remaining milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Add potatoes back to pot, and using a hand mixer, whip until smooth, adding more liquid until you reach desired consistency.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve each dollop with another pat of butter so it creates the necessary little pool of melted fat on top.

To help support victims of Hurricane Sandy, please consider donating to the Mayor’s Fund of NYC. One hundred percent of your contribution will go towards immediate relief efforts and organizations.

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glad you all have power again and are doing alright. i love next day meatloaf sandwiches possibly more than the dinner itself.


Sliced meatloaf for sandwiches was one of the things I stocked my freezer with when I pregnant and nesting. After a rough night of “sleep” with a newborn, a meatloaf sandwich is great encouragement to survive until lunch.


HeyBeckyJ – That is so genius. I never thought to make a meatloaf with freezing for sandwiches being the priority. Love it.


@HeyBeckyJ: you just blew my mind. i am totally putting that on my list of things to make for the freezer before this baby of mine comes out. so genius.


I just made this last night. Hands down the best meatloaf I’ve ever had. I agree about making extra. Leftovers of this will be scarce!


Growing up, I hated meatloaf. I was a fairly adventurous eater – at least for a LI girl in the 70’s! – but just didn’t see the point of meatloaf. But every year, when it came time for my twin sister’s and my birthday, when we could pick whatever we wanted for dinner, she’d pick meatloaf. Every.Single.Year. She’s had cerebral palsy since we were 3, and I stll tease her that that’s why she always got her way. (Those with special needs family members will understand that kind of humor!!)
Fast forward to when my now 8 year old son was attending daycare, and he came home telling me his new favorite food was meatloaf. A conspiracy, I declared!! Why meatloaf?? Finally I pulled out Martha Stewart’s recipe and made some for both my son, and my sister. And no surprise – I LOVE it now!!
So many reasons for meatloaf being one of my true comfort foods 🙂
After getting your book, we gave your recipe a go, and its now our standard recipe. So thanks!!

(But those cold meatloaf sandwiches my husband eats…. …….)


I’m nearing 40 years old and I have never had meatloaf. Like cupcakes and cake, I thought meatloaf was just a hamburger’s big brother. But reading all these comments makes me think that I might need to try making it one of these days.


Great….now ALL I can think about is meatloaf and I only have the mashed potatoes…We might have to bike to the store in the cold!!! 🙂
Also, DALS is my new baby gift go to. I had borrowed your book from the library, cooked from it for a month, cried when I had exceeded my checkout time and refused to return it until my copy came in the mail (only .40 fine…well worth it)! Nearly 5 nights a week we are cooking from your book…so perfect for a family with 3 young children. I also look forward to the provider stories in BA! 🙂 Thanks for your hard work…and power of suggestion!


This meatloaf is awesome. My husband declared it the best meatloaf he has ever eaten and my 16 month old son gobbled it up like it was grapes. After reading the comments will definitely be making a double batch next time for freezing.


We tried this recipe using all turkey last night (we don’t eat red meat) and even with the temperature at 160 it was a gloopy mess :(. The consistency was inedible although I could tell the flavor was there. Any suggestions? Double the breadcrumbs maybe or half the sauce?