Friday, June 10, 2011

Special K Loaf

This story is a particular favorite in my family.

When my father was still a child, and all four of my grandparents' children were still living at home, my Nana's cooking had a spurt of vegetarianism. Her most memorably misguided attempt was a recipe she found on the back of a box of Special K breakfast cereal. The recipe was a vegetarian substitute for meatloaf named Special K loaf.

Here are the ingredients for Special K loaf:
1 large chopped onion
2 T onion soup mix
1 large carton of cottage cheese
1 cup chopped walnuts
Chopped celery, if desired
5 eggs, beaten
5 cups Special K cereal
Truthfully, there's no comparing it to a meatloaf recipe. The closest comparison could be described as replacing the hamburger with a blend of walnuts, breakfast cereal and cottage cheese.

Surprisingly, it was not a popular dish.

At that time, my grandfather worked 9 to 5 at Goodyear. He was home by 5:15, and was at the table at 5:25 for dinner. And at 5:26 one night, my grandmother lays this beauteous loaf of glop in the middle of the table with a proud smile.

To my grandfather's credit, and to the credit of my father and his siblings, they all ate a piece that night. Then my grandfather, rarely one to stand against my Nana, laid down his fork and declared, "I never want to eat this ever again."

A couple of weeks went by, and my Nana either forgot the mandate or figured the dish was misunderstood and everyone would like it if she made it just one more time.

So, at 5:15, my grandfather walks in the door and takes off his hat. At 5:25, he and the children sat at the table. And at 5:26 my Nana, with a smile and a flourish, placed the Special K loaf in front of my grandfather.

As the story goes, my grandfather was quiet for a moment. He looked at the loaf, looked at his plate, looked again at the baked lump of cereal and cottage cheese. Then he sighed, putting his hands on the edge of the table. "Alright," he said, and pushed back his chair as he stood up. "I am going to Giuseppi's Pizza. Who's coming with me?"

A few moments later, after a frantic scraping of chair legs, my Nana was left alone in the kitchen with her Special K loaf.

And, to my Nana's credit, she never made Special K loaf again.


"But it's


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