Meat Loaf Is the Answer, Part 2: Let’s come together over meat loaf.


Meat Loaf Is the Answer, Part 1: Local food culture presupposes local culture. Popeyes, anyone?

Meat Loaf Is the Answer, Part 3: A brief postscript to yesterday’s Taco, Broccoli and Lutefisk Walk reference.

DNA’s Lutefisk Taco Walk started me thinking about meatloaf (or meat loaf), and a far bigger civic game, surpassing Mexican-derived street food in August.

Develop New Albany’s Broccoli Walk is August 12. What? Oops, sorry — it’s a Taco Walk.

The most recent mention of meat loaf in the NAC archives comes in 2013:

ON THE AVENUES REWOUND: Wonderful and delightful harvesting … in 2013.

Here’s the reprint, lightly edited for topicality.

Alas, we’ve waited to long for implementation, because Paxico, Kansas has beaten us to the meat loaf festival*. However, since Paxico numbers a mere 211 residents, I suspect we might yet infiltrate their shtick, just so long as we don’t claim world championship status for the winners

Let’s come together over meat loaf.

We’ve considered another pressing question many times previously: Do we need a second major civic festival in New Albany?

Whatever its future disposition, Harvest Homecoming has the autumn outdoor imagery slot locked up tight, and in late April, two weeks of Kentucky Derby revelry usually consumes Southern Indiana residents and then spits them back out in mid-May, after the horse pimps have moved on to fresh drugging elsewhere.

A few years back, there was a springtime Da Vinci fest in downtown New Albany, which in retrospect may have been just slightly before its time. Da Vinci’s twist was a bicycle racing component; if it ever were to be resurrected, as with the recent New Albany Crit, I’d like to see beercycling events take place, too. 

Of course, a dozen or more weekends annually are booked with local and regional church picnics, concerts and specialized fetes. Finding an open date for our second major civic festival might be difficult, indeed.

(While none of the preceding can compete in scale and impact with the true heavyweight world fests – Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras, Running with the Bulls, or that lesser-known fete in Spain where they stage massive civic tomato fights – the violence inherent in each of these, real or imagined, certainly qualifies them as worth copying for city council fundraising opportunities.)

With the chair’s permission, permit me to repeat my insistent civic festival proposal: As held on Election Day in November, it calls for the exaltation of meat loaf.

Not upper-case Meat Loaf, formerly Marvin Aday, who always wanted to sleep on it, but lower-case meat loaf: The myth, the legend and the great extender, tastily stretching limited household meats and means. Meat loaves of varying composition are rock solid staples in cultural, culinary repertoires the world over.

Great meat loaves? There’s a certain ring to that, and a growling of stomachs.

Does head cheese qualify as meat loaf?

I think so. Pig parts congealed in aspic and formed into a quivering block definitely merit a side competition for the more adventurous, because after all, aren’t we past the whole catsup glaze notion? Instead, our competition will encourage creativity. You can barbecue meat loaf, make it Cuban, or substitute Honey Creme doughnuts for filler.

Why Election Day for this festive “New Albany Loves Meat Loaf” gig? It’s an apt metaphor for a municipality (and county, and state) with budgets long since pared of lean and fat, where we’re down to cooking the bones for a bit of flavoring marrow.

Indiana’s former governor, current university head and future saint Mitch Daniels already had the Hoosier 99% dining on scant meat loaf when he left office, and his successor Mike Pence (and now Eric Holcomb) is steady at the helm when it comes to ensuring the better cuts of cow stay at the “right” tables. 

The rest of us might as well learn a few meat loaf recipes sooner rather than later — if not for own sustenance, then maybe for paying the municipal workers.