My mom’s mom, Neena, was the best cook.
My favorite meal of hers was hamloaf. Now, before you go and think this is all, weird & meatloaf-y, just take a step back! It’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever tasted in the world! She would make it so perfectly, and it always tasted like heaven to me. She knew it was my favorite, and I think she made it on purpose when we’d come to visit. :)
One day, when Neena was living in Boonville and I was visiting for summer, Neena said she would teach me how to make hamloaf. REALLY?! I was so excited. She decided we would each make one, side-by-side. We get out all our ingredients, then you have to mix them together– with your hand. When she told me this, I was a little bit grossed out, to be honest. Raw meat? Raw egg? And my clean hands? Yuck! But I suppose in the name of good food, I could manage… so take a deep breath and dig in…
…with BOTH hands.
Ooh, I got told real quick I wasn’t supposed to use BOTH hands! Then you don’t have a clean one to turn on the faucet or grab your next ingredient! Let me tell you, I have never forgotten to mix with one hand since then!
I haven’t attempted a hamloaf since that day. I was awfully busy, and then in 2008, Neena passed away. I loved her so much– was even named for her– and just haven’t really wanted to think about cooking her best meal, because I knew it would make me miss her. But something came over me this week that I just really wanted to give it a shot. I made hamloaf last night for supper, and took pictures in the process (and remembered how much fun I had with Neena that day).
It was delicious, but not Neena’s. No one can make a hamloaf like she can! But I will keep trying, and keep on sharing her legacy.