Bachelor dad borrows best-ever meatloaf recipe
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 09:49
PERRYSBURG — Part of knowing how to be a good cook is knowing what you don’t know.
|Chiropractor Paul Silcox sits in his office with a meatloaf he deems 'My Ex's Meatloaf (with bachelor's modifications). (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
For Dr. Paul Silcox, a local chiropractor, that was how to make the perfect meatloaf.
It’s not that he doesn’t know how the perfect meatloaf tastes. He does, exactly. And that’s the problem.
It was his ex-wife’s never-fail recipe for meatloaf.
“I hadn’t had it in six years,” since the couple split, in fact, but when offered the chance to submit a recipe for the Cook’s Corner, that’s the one he kept coming back to.
“I thought about it a few times in the last couple years. I’d be in a restaurant and see meatloaf on the menu, and I’d go ahead and order it, but I never had one that tasted like hers.”
So he finally contacted her with a request for the recipe.
She emailed it to him and he set about making the meatloaf for himself.
Sure enough, it tasted just as he remembered it.
What a contrast from all those restaurant meatloafs that proved to be “mostly just ground up hamburger that’s spread out in a loaf and maybe they’ll put ketchup on top of it.”
A few days later, Silcox got a hankering for the meatloaf again and decide to get a little bit creative, now that he had the basic recipe in front of him.
“I made some modifications and added them into the recipe. This one, I added onion flakes, garlic and seasoning salt for the meat, and water for the topping.”
Adding warm water and mixing it well with the topping ingredients makes the topping “easier to spread over the meat after it’s formed into a loaf.”
After just 25 minutes in the oven it was already smelling wonderful and Silcox knew he had a winner.
What is he calling it?
“My Ex-wife’s Meat Loaf Recipe (with some Top Chef-inspired bachelor modifications).”
Another of those modifications “that can be added in for a bit of variation is a small can of French’s French Fried Onions and spread over the top towards the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.”
Silcox also played around with the baking time and temperature.
“When I made mine, I actually did 350 degrees for 50 minutes and it did great.” What’s printed on the page today “is what she sent me. I just split the difference and added a bit more temperature. All I know is, mine turned out pretty darn good.”
Silcox finds “having the spices in it” adds flavor, as does “the topping that kind of melts down into the meat and it just adds a little bit of sweetness to it that makes it special.”
The recipe, he added, “makes awesome leftover meatloaf sandwiches with mayo.”
Silcox, a father of two children, ages 21 and 23, cooks most of his own meals “and this is one that’s pretty easy. Start to finish, this shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half.”
“Dr. Paul,” as patients often call him, was born in Michigan but his family moved to Fremont in 1971. He graduated from Fremont Ross High School in 1973 and went to chiropractic school in Marietta, Georgia.
Upon graduation in 1978 he practiced in Louisiana for three years and Michigan for another nine.
“Then I moved back to Fremont in 1990 and was there 21 years.”
After more than 30 years as a practicing chiropractor, Silcox decided it was time to get away from “the harder type of physical demands” of the job, as he was developing some arm and shoulder pain.
So he took training to do a form of chiropractic that is “kinder and gentler on myself and my patients.”
He followed that up with training in acupuncture, which led to the decision to move his practice to a somewhat more metropolitan area.
Silcox is now situated in Perrysburg.
“I actually have an office here in the back of my home” at 24237 Ohio 25, just across the street from the new Blessed John XXIII Parish.
Silcox’s own father “was an awesome cook and I think that’s where I got my interest in cooking. He made a pot of soup in the wintertime and there was just nothing like it.”
Cooking from scratch is well worth the effort, in Silcox’s view.
“I personally believe fast food is one of the things that is hurting this country very bad.”
He likes to bake vegetables — like asparagus, or bell peppers and mushrooms — and drizzle a little olive oil and fresh ground pepper on top. “I do that quite a bit.”
Silcox teases: “I figure one of these days I might be able to catch myself a good wife with my cooking skills.”
‘My ex-wife’s meat loaf’
2 lbs. hamburger
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1½ cup cracker crumbs (regular or whole wheat)
1/2 cup ketchup
* optional add-in’s for meat:
¼ cup of onion flakes
3-4 good shakes of seasoning salt
3-4 shakes of garlic powder
If you really like a little variety, try ¼ to ½ cup of grape jelly
1/2 cup to 1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tblsp. warm water (optional; mix well with other ingredients)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix hamburger, cracker crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and ketchup (and any optional items for meat) together.
Mold into loaf and put into greased pan or spray with PAM.
Poke some small holes into meat loaf to allow topping to soak into meat.
Pour topping onto loaf and make sure it is covered evenly.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 May 2012 10:53