I am a sucker for a good meatball. Something happens when you mix otherwise one-dimensional ground meats up with fresh breadcrumbs, herbs, seasonings and make a great sauce to go with it and that is that I will swat your fork away to get at them first. I always believed I held no such adoration for meatloaf until I mentioned this one day — here, on my invisible soapbox — and someone in the comments asked gently, as if they understood they were speaking to a very easily confused individual, if I knew that meatloaf is basically one giant meatball?
And well, no, I had not. Armed with this eye-opening revelation, I set out to address what I found so off-putting about meatloaf. First, I mean obviously, the word and concept of a loaf of meat. I don’t care how many freshly snipped herbs on top and how heavily you lay on the Clarendon filter, a slab of ground meat is always going to be a thing we look past to get to the flavor we love within. And so I decided to make them more like meatballs — round, a bit more tender, and possibly, if you really squint your eyes, a little cute. Okay, yes, I know, that’s a stretch.
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