Mount Meatloaf

I probably should post a new entry or I’ll keep getting birthday greetings well into March. That wouldn’t be so bad if they were accompanied by presents or blowjobs. But as both seem to be in short supply lately from anyone other than NewWifey(tm), a new entry it is. I blame COVID.

Speaking of things in short supply, it’s been quite some time since I’ve tossed up a food entry. I mean, I recall mentioning in the Early Days that I was afraid this thing was turning into a cooking blog, I was posting so much food porn. But other than lamenting that I’ve been shoveling too much of it into my face, the past year hasn’t seen so much as a cracker here (well, other than me).

And I guess I haven’t talked too much about my photography adventures lately either, right? Yeah, I’ve posted some brilliant cat pictures, and that pair of ripped jeans with the seam that looks like a dick hanging out. Y’know, “art”. But I haven’t really bored you with the minutiae that I love but everyone else hates.

But guess what? THIS entry I get to flaunt BOTH. Wooooooo! Food AND photography! It’s gonna be GREAT!!

Alright, alright. Not really. But again: if I’m not getting presents or blowjobs, I gotta move that birthday entry outta here. So just put up with this bit of fluff for now, ok?

Here’s the Cliff Notes in case you don’t want to plow through the whole mess: I made a mountain out of meatloaf because NewWifey(tm) ate all the mashed potatoes that I was going to form into a mountain because my photography club’s monthly assignment this month is “Unique Landscapes”.

I don’t think any further clarification is needed. That pretty much covers it.

But because I like to hear the sound of myself typing….

My local in-person camera club has not been in-person for the past two years for the same reason your in-person activities have not been in-person for the last two years. To wit: idiots refusing to get vaccinated and wear masks have allowed this pandemic to circulate among the population and mutate for two years longer than it otherwise would have, resulting in 5.68 million deaths worldwide (so far) and the closing of the Vernon Senior Center where the Vernon Camera Club holds its monthly meetings. Take your pick which is the bigger tragedy.

So for the past two years we’ve held our meetings via Zoom, and it really hasn’t been that bad. I don’t have a camera on my computer, something all the other members thanked me for, but otherwise it’s almost like being in the same room with them, except the food is better. And lo and behold, they recently started holding some actual outings again, albeit with the COVID precautions. I joined them on one recently, and got a great picture of a bird’s ass:

I took others pictures of course, but none approached that one for majesty and beauty. And ass.

At our monthly 2-hour Zoom meetings we’re expected to submit two photographs that conform to a chosen theme. Every meeting starts with a guest speaker who blathers on for the first hour about his or her area of expertise. Then in the second hour the expert critiques our submitted photos, which are put up on screen one by one. At the end the expert names one picture the best, and that then becomes the VCC Facebook homepage photo until the next month’s winner kicks it off the pedestal. I got the award a couple of times, including for this one on the theme of “Architecture and Shadows”:

That’s the parking garage where I work. You can see how happy people are to be employed there.

Anyway, our next virtual club meeting is tomorrow. And as already mentioned, the theme is “Unique Landscapes”. We had a lecture last month from some famous unique landscape guy, from whom we were all supposed to glean helpful tips which we were to put into practice for tomorrow’s entries.

I chose mashed potatoes for my landscape photo.

Yes, mashed potatoes. See, I had knee surgery just last month. And much as I hate to be a pussy about these things, trekking up and down snow covered rocky slopes in search of a unique photo of a snow covered rocky slope was just not in the cards yet. Not for a mere Facebook cover photo, anyway. So I decided to fake it.

With mashed potatoes.

The plan, after much thinking and half a bottle of Maker’s Mark, was to craft a likeness of a snow covered rocky slope out of…well, you just heard it. Mashed potatoes. I’d stick green things like asparagus stalks in the foothills as evergreens, and in my drunken stupor I imagined I’d be able to make a white wine “river” running down a valley, with the overturned glass visible in the background. It would be witty AND technically bombastic. In other words: the next Facebook cover photo.

When I sobered up and the idea still didn’t sound stupid, I knew I had a winner.  I got to work that night.

First things first, I had to mash some potatoes. But a search of the DangerPantry(tm) showed a blank space where the potatoes should be. So I ran to the store and picked up three of Idaho’s finest.

I actually only made two of them into mash. The other I baked, because I thought maybe a split and pinched baked potato might look craggier and more mountain-like than mashed. I figure I’d better do a comparison.  So I prepared both that night, and put them in the fridge to cool until the next day when they would be stiff enough to form into terrain.

And that’s where I made my critical error. I forgot I married an Irish woman.

The next afternoon I set up the shoot. Got the camera and tripod out, assembled my soft boxes (studio lights), and poured a bunch of spatulas and spoons onto my biggest cutting board. Mount St. Russet was about to be born!

I opened the fridge.

Uh……….

Honey? Have you seen two containers of potatoes anywhere?

NewWifey(tm), from the other room: “Mmmff. I’m just finishing them now. They were delicious!”

Two mashed potatoes. A baked potato. My mountain. Gone. Not even the skins left.

And the photos had to be submitted that night.

Back to the store then, and with a change of plans. I decided it was too dangerous to attempt making potatoes again with NewWifey(tm) still in the house. She’d only had three, half her normal ration. I couldn’t trust her not to strip-mine my mountain before I got a single photo off.

I went with ground beef this time. It was on sale, for one thing. For another, it struck me that a snow topped brown meat mountain would be just as hilarious convincing as a completely snow covered potato mountain.

So I made a meatloaf. It was a great meatloaf, too. Don’t think I lowered my culinary standards just because it wasn’t being produced strictly for food. I have my pride. Although one concession I did make to photographic realism: I added cooked brown rice as a filler, which I thought would give the sculpture a more textured look. And it did.

I molded the raw meat into a mountain-esque form on a half sheet and popped it in oven. An hour later it was done.

Er….

*cough*

I lied. It wasn’t a great meatloaf.

When the thermometer told me that Mt. Loaf was perfectly cooked, I didn’t take it out of the oven. It didn’t look mountain-y enough. It needed to be browner. Dirt is rich brown, even mottled with black in spots. My meatloaf did not look like dirt.

So…back into the oven until it did.

And it looked great! It was as hard as a brick, but who cares? My meatloaf looked like dirt!

I set it aside to cool while I prepped the trees.

Back to the fridge.

Uh, honey? Have you seen a bundle of baby asparagus anywhere…?

From the other room: “They were delicious too!”

Shit.

No time to run to the store, so…frozen brussels sprouts “boulders” it was. And to hell with the wine river. No time. Besides, I had to assume that NewWifey(tm) drank the bottle when she ate Mount Potato and the Asparagus Woods. (I was right.) I just grabbed some red and brown lentils and made a “shore” down onto a mirror that I hoped would look like a dark lake. Then I grated some cheese over the peaks because cheesy mountain peaks are something I think should exist in real life. And it looked cool.

Finally, I made a sky. I don’t use PhotoShop much, but I saw a vid on YT that showed how you can replace the sky in any photo with a more attractive one with just one click. So I did, and I even figured out how to make some overlap at the top to make it look like some wispy cloud action at the summit. The deception was complete.

See what you think:

Ok, so it’s not my original vision. I really would have liked trees, and that wine river. But I forgot to figure NewWifey(tm) into the equation. I can’t get too mad at her, though. After all, she gives great head. And when all is said and done, I would much rather have that than my picture plastered on some local camera group’s Facebook page for a month.

I guess.

Oh yeah, remember I mentioned up top that we are supposed to submit two photos each month? Well I did take another one, and for this one I did go outside. Not tramping up and down rubble strewn mountains, but rather a leisurely stroll down onto the frozen surface of our little community lake. I call it, “Dreaming of Spring”. I don’t think it needs much explanation:

Hopefully one of these ridiculous efforts manages to snow tomorrow’s judge into thinking I was being witty here, rather than desperate. I don’t want to have to explain in front of the whole group that my plans for a crazy good mashed potato mountain with asparagus forest and white wine river were foiled by an Irish wife who gives killer blowjobs. Who knows what they might put up on Facebook?

Oh, one other thing: I lied again.

The meatloaf was great. I had the forethought to make it with a large amount of panade, just in case I had to overcook the sucker for visual effect. Kept it nice and moist, it did, despite looking (thankfully) like dirt. I’m eating a slab of it right now, in fact. But just one. NewWifey(tm) already ate the rest….

Ciao!

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12 thoughts on “Mount Meatloaf

  1. I’d vote for your first landscape…it’s actually very attractive if not completely realistic. If only you’d burned the brussels sprouts, though. I guess you chose taste over verisimilitude????? Now you have me wanting to make some culinary landscapes of my own. It’s renewed my lapsed interest in cooking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your interest in cooking…lapsed?! Noooo! Well thank god I came along to redress such a grievous situation!

      Oh man, you’re right. It would have looked better had I caused some color changes in the sprouts. Dammit. Next time I’m called upon to craft an edible subject, I’m hiring you as a style consultant. And to answer your question: when have I ever been a slave to verisimilitude?? The telling of the story itself is paramount. Always.

      🙂

      Like

  2. I had to look up ‘panade’ cause I’d never heard of it. It’s obvious that I have let down the foodie world shamefully.

    The things one learns on your blog. 🙂

    I like your second photo as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t feel too bad. We can’t all be me when it comes to cooking. On the other hand, your meatloaf is probably good enough as-is that it doesn’t need a panade. I’ve seen the pics. (And thanks for liking the other picture! I had a lot of fun getting that one done.) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool beans. I’d never heard of panade either so I looked it up too – that’ll be why I add wet bread to my meatballs, it seems. I’ve never made a meat loaf that I’ve liked though to be honest I’ve only made two and never had any other opportunity to try them, they’re not a Brit thing at all. I loved your photo though. When we were kids one of our weekday suppers was what Mum called snow on the mountain – scrambled eggs on a pile of mash. I hadn’t thought of that in years…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anna. I have to admit, I have never heard of that “snow on the mountain” combo. Funny, neither my British nor my Italian grandmothers made meatloaf. But my mother did, frequently. Must have been an American housewife staple at the time. Plus, it was probably much easier to whip up for 5 kids and a husband than a series of a la carte dinners. Just bake off a big loaf and plop it on the table along with a trowel, and you’re done. The next time you find yourself in New Jersey, I’ll make you one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t recognize the term “panade” but certainly know and use it in cooking. I need to get edjumickated or something, I guess. But only for the terminology.

    Your meatloaf mountain is inspired indeed, but I was confused by the white stuff cresting over the browned meat. When you said cheese, I assumed cheddar. Because, you know, yellow snow.

    Liked by 1 person

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