After setting it aside as one of those things to learn some day far off in the future (along with changing a car's oil, learning to put up wallpaper, and bullfighting), I stumbled upon a fantastic program in New York aiming to bring more women into tradeswork dominated by men.
Nontraditional Employment for Women, or NEW, is a 6-week session where ladies can get familiar with tools, construction mathematics, basic carpentry, and reading blueprints. Upon graduation, students are qualified to join unions at entry level positions. Learning how to measure and notate to 1/64th of an inch makes me feel empowered already, and it's only been a day. I can't wait to share more of my adventures- though I'm afraid photos are going to be limited (serious skills are involved and tourist snapshots aren't welcome).
When I got home from class last night, tool talk, hard hats, and our continuing cold weather in Brooklyn inspired me to make meatloaf. (Actually, I was planning on making it for when Bessie got back, but fell behind.) Meatloaf is one of those wonderful things that you can modify according to what's in the fridge. Some people like adding a full miripoix of celery, onion and carrots.
Mine is less the garden variety and more double the meat- I wrap it in bacon when I have it, then add lots of condiments. Careful if you do this or the meatloaf gets really soggy and gross. I've learned the hard way not to add too much liquid because it makes the whole thing crumbly.
Here's what I like to add to my meatloaf:
-1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (it's lovely to mix pork, veal, and beef)
-1/2 can tomato paste
-2 cloves chopped garlic
-1/2 T Dijon mustard
-1 tsp. soy sauce
-2 tsp. Sriracha rooster sauce
-salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together with bare hands (unless you're a vegetarian, you'll find it extremely satisfying). Form into a loaf (not too thick, or it will take forever to cook.) Wrap in foil and place in bread pan or sheet pan. Bake for approximately 55 minutes at 375 degrees, or until internal temperature is 160 degrees (ground meat needs to be more thoroughly cooked than steaks, so if you like a pink center, cook at your own risk).
Why do meat and manual labor go so well together?
Have some garlic chopped to mix into ground beef.
Add ketchup, mustard, or whatever else you want in your version.