If you're anything like me - and I assume if you're reading this then you are - food takes up a disproportionate amount of your thinking time. Whether it's a previous meal, a random ingredient, a possible recipe or a new kitchen gadget it's always on the mind, a mention of something by someone will spark a quick browse of the internet, halfway down a page about said something you'll spy a link to something else and before you know it your six degrees of separation away from where you started - still on the topic of food obviously - and you've planned the next week's worth of meals. I guess, if we could remember them, all meals would have some path through which our mind travelled before deciding upon them. For this meal I actually remember how I got there though.
It started off some months a go - back in September as I travelled through Vietnam. I'd been given a book - The Invisible Man - by a traveller I met and as I sat reading it I came across mention of a breakfast I liked the look of - pork chop and grits. Knowing how my my mind works, the constant thoughts of food and search for new tastes and dishes to cook, I was well prepared and carried a notepad to list any dishes I wanted to cook once I returned home and was finally out of my self imposed kitchen exile. In the book pork chops and grit went, ready for my return home.
Upon arriving back in England it didn't take long before the grits came out, ready for their pork chop, but before cooking it I had a little search on Google to see if it was a traditional breakfast. In typical fashion the link clicking kicked in and before I knew it I was reading this review of a Brooklyn restaurant. The pork and grits had gained traditional status but another dish had grabbed my attention and meat loaf sandwich had joined the to-cook list - one on one off it would appear. I'm not even a big fan of meatloaf but the thought of a burger-like slab of it with melted cheese and a fried egg seemed the perfect mix for a hungover breakfast. A few months down the line and I've finally cooked it.
I didn't have any recipes for meatloaf but this one looked flavoursome and not too heavily spiced for breakfast. When you're making this purely for the leftovers it's a two day dish, started on Friday for Saturday's breakfast, and once cooked it went in the fridge ready for the next morning. To construct the sandwich just take a slice of meatloaf (maybe 2cm thick) and grill till browned and warmed through, top with mature cheddar and then get it back under the grill till that is starting to bubble. In the interim toast some bread and fry and egg. Put it all together, adding some mustard or ketchup if you see fit.
Even without a cultural link or childhood memories this is seriously comforting stuff. The meatloaf was moist and meaty with a sweetness from the 1/2 cup of ketchup. The melted cheese and runny yolk helped bring it all together - moving it from leftovers in bread to a dish of its own merits - and upped it to the prerequisite lard requirement of a post-drinking breakfast. With 2.5 lb of meat in the meatloaf recipe and just me eating it there was rather a lot leftover, I now have 6 slices individually wrapped in the freezer though so I can have the pleasure without the previous night's effort. They definitely won't go to waste.