I’ve never been a picky eater. But meatloaf was not one of my favorites, even though the dish has withstood the test of time as a favorite comfort food. Well, what a difference one recipe can make! I went from never giving meatloaf a second thought to maybe thinking about it a little too much. These days I can’t get enough of this special recipe that makes meatloaf so very flavorful and moist. What secrets does this variation hold? There are several. First, the two cups of whole milk that the breadcrumbs happily soak in. That alone gives the meatloaf a rich and ultra moist texture. Second, sautéing the sweet yellow onion adds to the moisture plus gives the loaf a slight natural sweetness. Then the sauce that gets brushed over the top before baking gives this meatloaf a hint of spice, a bit of heat from the dry mustard and sweetness from the brown sugar. All in all, this is a wonderful meal for the family, especially when paired with mashed potatoes, gnocchi, pasta or just some charred crusty French bread. This quote from Bon Appetite magazine summed up meatloaf the best: “Meatloaf in its many iterations and guises was often a sort of culinary scrap heap, a refuge for leftovers, in the spirit of many casseroles and of shepherd’s pie. It was a way to stretch protein. It was a way to use up excess vegetables. It was a ragtag orchestra of ingredients on the verge of expiration. And it made music more uplifting than anyone could have anticipated.” This recipe is definitely music to my ears and a brand new one woman fan favorite!
large eggs, beaten
The one thing we do know about this cake is that it was first printed in Southern Living Magazine in 1978 and eventually became the most popular and requested recipe in the magazine’s history. What we don’t know about Hummingbird Cake, is how it got its name. This moist, 3-layer slice of heaven was created and submitted to Southern Living by Mrs. L.H Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina forty one years ago. Over the years, information about Mrs. Wiggins was lost, but a recent post on line from Southern Living revealed this:
“Stay tuned, because in the coming weeks, you’ll more about cracking the case of the Hummingbird Cake in a new Southern Living podcast—including exclusive interviews with Mrs. Wiggins’ family and Southern Living food editors throughout the decades.”
So maybe we will find out about the cakes’ origin and its name. Once you make it, you’ll find out why it’s been a time-tested and beloved recipe for dessert lovers for decades!