Most of us have been under shelter-at-home orders for the past several weeks because of the Coronavirus threat and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s been very challenging to say the least. But it has also afforded us with some time to do things we perhaps haven’t been able to do in the past … like prepare scrumptious comfort foods and warm, nourishing meals for our loved ones! One of my husband’s favorite comfort meals is a thick slice of homemade meatloaf, lightly drizzled with some ketchup and cozied up to a hot side of macaroni and cheese and rich baked beans.
I once read a great quote about meatloaf in the magazine, Bon Appetit, that said “when we cook meatloaf, we’re connected to something bigger: a tradition. Meatloaf is elemental. It’s enduring. And if comfort foods are those that are not only an answer to hunger but also an existential balm, served without undue fuss or expensive implements, then meatloaf rules the category. It reigns supreme. It’s the fluffy caftan of comfort foods.”
So what do you say we quit “loafing” around, and get on with the business of delivering, as Bon Appetit would suggest, “an answer to hunger along with a little healing balm”? Let’s make a meatloaf!
2 tablespoons salted butter
½ cup of finely chopped onion
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
4 ounces (1 sleeve) of saltines, crushed
1-1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, cooled onion, crushed saltines, cheddar, eggs, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. With your hands, gently mix the ingredients together until well blended. Don’t overwork the mixture.
Place the mixture evenly in a 6” x 9” loaf pan.
Drizzle the ketchup down the center of the loaf and brush it over the top to cover.
Bake until firm about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Meatloaf, though confined to a pan, is not meant to remain that way for hours, days, or weeks, wouldn’t you agree? Its design, its destiny, is to serve the hungry. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, even in the midst of a shelter-at-home environment, are also designed to serve the hungry, and we should not allow confinement to be an excuse for “loafing” around. A time of rest is a gift, and an initial, brief rest can be beneficial, but if we loaf too long, we can become spiritually weak, cold to the needs of those around us, and ineffective for the Kingdom.
We have an exceptional opportunity to let our faith shine right now, to live the gospel even from within the confines of our own homes. There are hungry people throughout the world right now who are confused, threatened, fearful and confined. We have the “answer to their hunger” and we know the One who is the healing balm, the Balm of Gilead.
Phone calls, social media messages, and handwritten notes, pre-marinated in worship and prayer, seasoned with truth, and delivered with love are examples of some great “work” we can do from home. Work can absolutely carry on from confinement! And with great effectiveness and power! A perfect example is Paul, who was quite the letter writer, wasn’t he? In fact, here’s a sentence from one of his letters: “For which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” (2Timothy 2:9) Paul spent most of his ministry “quarantined” in prison or under house arrest, and yet his correspondence with sisters and brothers in Christ yielded half of the New Testament! The gospel is never bound!
“Whoever loafs in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9) Time is too short for loafing and I certainly do not want to be associated with the one who destroys.
For such a time as this, we’ve been placed upon this earth, and work done for God’s glory lasts for eternity. What I do today can last forever.
Let’s work while it is still day, saints!