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Meatloaf Surprise (Flash Fiction)

There's nothing more fulfilling than cooking a meal the family loves. To hear the accolades and see the family rub their bellies with satisfaction is my reward for all the hard work I put into preparing it. I smile as I write this because there was a time or two, in my youth, I ate some of the nastiest food ever prepared by my grandma!!!

Now I ask you, "Aren't grandmas supposed to be the greatest cooks around?"

When it came to cooking, Grandma knew just about as much as Julia Child did when she first started out. Yes, it was a roll of the dice whether or not we'd get something suitable to eat for supper. The salt biscuits were the worst. On second thought the meatloaf surprise was the worse.

It's funny how Grandma reminded me of a cross between Julia Child and Mr. Magoo. Her round eye glasses sat on the edge of her nose and did nothing to help her see better. Most days she walked with her hands outstretched to keep from bumping into walls. I remember one occasion Grandpa and I hauled her out of the creek sputtering and cussing. Granny been closer to the creek's bank than she'd realized.

Grandma would take a portion of this type of meat and that type of meat, mix them all together, throw in chunks of onions, bell peppers, tomato sauce and a few other bits of whatever was on hand and called it "meatloaf surprise". Oh we were surprised alright and a bit green under the collar after taking that first bite. I blame it on the Mr. Magoo glasses she wore. How could she follow a recipe when she couldn't see it. That is "If" she followed a recipe.

My Grandma was an enigma. She marched to the beat of her own drums, especially when it came to cooking. I've heard it said time and again, "When a cook is good it's reflected in the way she cooks." Well Granny must have really hated cooking.

I asked Grandma one day: "Isn't gravy supposed to be smooth and creamy? This has lumps, I said to Grandma."

She promptly told me, "Hush child and eat what is put before you."

It was then I decided there was nothing worse than biting into a clump of wet flour, except eating meatloaf surprise. I knew without a reason of doubt I would learn how to cook the right way. Grandpa patted my head, and with a look of defeat took a bite of Grandma's gravy too.

Okay, I'll admit Grandma managed to make a decent meal or two on occasion. What she lacked in the savory department, she made up for in baking.

Grandma's cookies and desserts were always in demand. She made the best chocolate chip cookies, with all those bits of chocolate morsels tucked inside the cookie. When it came to bread, she could never keep enough of it made up.

Grandma's gone now, but her antics live on in my mind. As I prepare to make "My" meatloaf stuffed with Havarti Cheese and topped with a thin layer of tomato sauce, I can see Grandma dressed in her apron, flour everywhere and those pop bottle glasses perched ever so askew on her face.

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