This recipe was one of the five meals my mom had in her heavy weeknight rotation to feed our family of six. I loved the way she made three holes in the loaf and filled each one with a reservoir of spicy ketchup, so each bite had a touch of it. Little details like a pool of ketchup create a memorable dinner experience for a little kid -- never to be forgotten.
I grate the onions to avoid unpleasantly large chunks in the meat loaf; use a box grater and they'll melt into the meat mixture as it cooks. Grated carrots help keep the loaf moist.
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large bowl, soak the bread crumbs in the milk for 5 minutes.
2. Add the beef, onions, carrots, egg, salt, and pepper to the bread crumb mixture. Mix gently.
3. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf and put it in an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Make 3 holes, evenly spaced lengthwise, in the meat loaf and fill them to the top with the sauce. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Pour any accumulated juices over the top of the meat loaf. Slice and serve with the remaining chili sauce on the side.
Makes 3/4 cup
Excerpted from Mad Hungry Cravings by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books). Copyright 2013. Photographs by Jonathan Lovekin.
Darra Goldstein is editor in chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, an 888-page reference guide to all things sweet. "The book is really a compendium of human desires, a cultural history of desire for things that are sweet and what it has caused in the world, in both the realm of pleasure and also of pain," she says.