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Thoughts on Condiments: Sweet, Savory, and More Real than Not

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Imagine my delight when a package full of ketchup came to our door, unannounced. The people at Sir Kensington’s, the not-too-sweet ketchup people, read the meatloaf recipe in The Real Food Cookbook and were touched, so they sent me a thank you note. I’d like you to note that I don’t receive industry freebies very often!

There were also delicious mustards and flavored mayonnaises, though I don’t like mayonnaise unless it’s made with olive oil, and then, it’s fair to say, it doesn’t taste like most people expect mayo to taste.

Ah, the recent triumph of the yellow grain and seed oils — soy, corn, sunflower, and safflower! It’s a shame. Never in history have humans eaten so much of these omega-6 rich oils. Too many, for an overdose of omega-6 fats contributes to obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are new to eating real food, try ketchup with less sugar, olive oil in place of any yellow oils in your pantry, and more omega-3-rich cold-water wild fish, such as Pacific salmon and herring, to your diet.

I want to thank Sir Kensington’s for the nice note, the tasty condiments, and for the great real food slogan. I like good copy and good design — it adds pleasure to shopping and eating. Here’s the very simple recipe for meatloaf the way I like it. It’s the one time I just love a slick of ketchup. (On burgers I like a green sauce…)

Meatloaf
Serves 6
Here’s another supper to make by heart—or, if you’re Emily Duff, with beef heart. My real-food friend grinds organ meats for her meatloaf—brilliant frugal traditional food, the kind I aspire to. Meanwhile, here’s my daily loaf of meat. A mix of beef and pork is best, I think. If you use beef alone, meatloaf is too like a square burger.

Two pounds of meat generously fills my standard glass loaf pan and definitely requires two eggs, two slices of toast, and a full hour in the oven. One pound of meat, one egg, and one piece of toast, on the other hand, makes a perfectly nice loaf in 35 to 40 minutes. Having tried diced spinach, zucchini, fennel, and other seasonal vegetables, I always return to the usual suspects: carrots, celery, onions, leeks. Dice them small.

Instead of ketchup, try the best tomato jam in New York. Made by Katchkie Farm with an ingenious formula involving organic tomatoes, onions, cider vinegar, garlic, cayenne, cloves, allspice, and ginger, it ought to be the industry standard. You can see why it goes with meatloaf. Ketchup at the bottom of the pan turns silky, while ketchup on top becomes crispy and sweet. I don’t grudge the children extra ketchup on the plate, either. We like Sir Kensington’s, a self-mocking, retro-vintage brand that’s beautifully spiced and not too sweet.

1 onion
1 small bunch parsley or sage
1 carrot
1 celery stalk (optional)
1/3 c olive oil
salt and pepper
2 slices bread
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 eggs
Katchkie Farm tomato jam or fine ketchup

1. Set the oven to 350°F.
2. Dice the onion, herbs, carrot, and (optional) celery.
3. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the vegetables until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Toast the bread, let it get completely cool to dry out, and make bread crumbs. (I use the food processor.)
5. Add the beef, pork, eggs, and bread crumbs to the vegetables and stir well.
6. Coat the bottom of a loaf-shaped glass dish with tomato jam or ketchup, and pack the mixture firmly in the dish. Spread a little more jam or ketchup on top.
7. Bake for about 1 hour, until it’s bubbling. Sometimes I drain off some fat and juice, and sometimes I don’t. Let it cool a bit before serving.

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