Gather 'round, children, and I'll tell the story of the very first Ides of Meatloaf... or at least what I remember of it, which isn't much.
Many, many years ago -- three time zones away and a couple of decades past -- Evil Twin, Ms C*, and I were comparing our Midwestern roots and the foods of our childhood, back when canned cream soups were king. Tales were spun of potatoes from a box, boiled vegetables, Evil Twin's step-mom's "fried" chicken, and hot dishes, Jello molds, and meatloaves of every hue.
As we giggled, the strangest thing happened; even as we mocked our elders, our stomachs started rumbling. We were stunned to realize that, as 'evolved' and 'sophisticated' as we were**, we still had a primordial connection to the convenience foods of the mid-20th century.
I can't remember how it happened -- although I guarantee there was alcohol involved -- but we started joking about doing a pot luck of all our childhood favorites. Gravy mix from a pouch! Things from boxes! Artificial colors and flavors! Jello mold***! Schedules were compared, someone mentioned that the weekend of the 15th would work, then someone realized that that was the Ides of March...
And from derision and booze, the Ides of Meatloaf was born.
The 15th arrived. We each made our favorite meatloaf; we had gravy from a pouch and mashed potatoes from a box and the green bean casserole with the crunchy onions and other beloved dietary atrocities that I can't recall. And yes, there was Jello. We drank and laughed and mocked the whole enterprise while stuffing our faces. You know what? Laugh we did, but between the three of us, the two husbands, and two rug rats, every single scrap was consumed.
Burp! I tell ya, that was some good eatin'!
As with most golden eras of our youth, we were only able to celebrate the IoM maybe a handful of times before the winds scattered us. Sometimes over the years I would remember to make a meatloaf on March 15th and Hubby and I would laugh about it. Good times, good times....
Then a couple of years(?) ago, I got an email from Evil Twin declaring that the Ides of Meatloaf lived! She and her sister had not only revived the tradition, but had spread the joy to their most disturbed and insane friends. Last year I received pictures of their festivities that both warmed my heart and filled me with envy. I, too, would find a way to bring this unsung celebration to the light.
A scant few weeks later, I randomly stumbled across what may be the ultimate expression of the wonder that is IoM: The Meat Cake!
Could it be any more glorious? I forwarded it to Evil Twin and Ms C; both were transfixed. Yes, with a Meat Cake in our pockets (ick!), how could 2008 be anything but the best IoM in (recorded) history?
As 2007 slipped past (hey, I was busy!), I somehow forgot about Meat Cake until I received the warning bell from Evil Twin a few weeks back. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter was revving their engines for the biggest, baddest, best IoM ever. A new feature for 2008: an apron contest! Tell me, how can it get any better than that?
Unfortunately, this year I will be unable to fully participate in the IoM as I lack the minimum number of local wacky pals. The doctrine is quite clear: without the pot luck component and the traditional sharing of food abominations with insane companions, there can be no true IoM. Although I might well whip up a suitably pedestrian meatloaf-n-taters-w-canned-peas meal in solidarity.
Mid-Atlantic Chapter, you rock! You set the standard that others can only aspire to. Next year Mr B and I are so flying back east....
Hey, if anyone else decides to partake, photos and/or stories are welcomed. Spread the joy and glory! Show us your Meat Cake!
* The third leg of our trio. The three of us were so goddamned funny that leakage was a constant threat, even in my 20s.
** Way back in our late 20s/early 30s -- punks!
*** Which, back in the day, used to count as a vegetable. For real.