Ground meat recipes can be dated back to Ancient
Rome. Most of these recipes used meat that was already cooked
then mixed with other ingredients before cooking again. A lot
of the time, meatloaves were made to use up any leftover meat so
there wouldn't be any waste. By grinding the meat, any tough
meat would be easier to eat. Small amounts of meat would feed
more people when mixed with fillers like bread, rice, or vegetables.
With the invention of the meat grinder at the
turn of the century, meatloaf became more common in homes.
Advancement in the technology of refrigeration allowed for ground
meats to be stored longer.
The 1940s, 50s, and 60s are a period in time that
most people associate with meatloaf, green beans, and mashed
potatoes. It was a time of predominantly one income families
on a budget. Meatloaf provided a great source of protein while
fitting in to the family budget.
Today's meatloaf has progressed from a bland
mixture of ground meat to wonderful concoctions worthy of a fine
restaurant. Meatloaf consisting of beef, pork, veal, bison and
sometimes even ostrich has been gradually becoming more and more
mainstream. Cheeses and vegetables like spinach are being
cooked inside meatloaf to add another level of sophistication to
this formerly bland meal.
Meatloaf has been a staple in the lives of men
and women since before cookbooks were being written. Once
considered comfort food for families on a budget, meatloaf is now
considered in much higher regard by chefs and consumers.