With roots that date back to the times of Attila the Hun and the fall of the  Roman Empire, this delicious dish is a modern day favorite. Today, let’s explore the history of meatloaf.


Going Back to the Start – The History of Meatloaf

Let’s travel back in time to the fifth century.

This time is rich with migration, political frenzy, and discovery.

In the midst of all the chaos, the Roman cookbook “Apicius” is published.

One of the recipes in the book is a concoction of chopped meat, wine, and bread that’s pressed into patties.

This is the first known reference to the staple dish we now know as “meatloaf”.

Flash forward to the late 1800s. The meat grinder has just been invented, and it gives a new life to leftovers like meat trimmings.

The manufacturers of this machinery suggest that you very simply grind all these remaining scraps up and stick them together, and viola.

America’s modernized meatloaf is born. But wait, the history of meatloaf doesn’t stop there.


Desperate Times Called for Desperate Measures

During America’s Great Depression, meatloaf was one of the most common dishes due to simplicity and necessity.

Making food last for as long as possible was an important part of survival.

Meatloaf reserved its spot on dinner menus because it allowed home cooks to stretch their mealtime budgets.

Eventually things like vegetables, breadcrumbs, and even cereal found their way into meatloaf.

By the 1950s, this convenient creation had solidified its place in America’s culinary index.

The history of meatloaf is fascinating, isn’t it?

Today’s Meatloaf

Even today, meatloaf still holds its royalty in the kitchen.

As most classic recipes, there are now countless ways to prepare it.

That which once symbolized desperation, now epitomizes versatility and provides a sense hominess.

Some people eschew meatloaf because they associate it with pinching pennies or as a way to use up leftovers.

Making economical food choices and reducing waste in the kitchen are both smart decisions.  But here’s the most important true fact that’s overlooked about meatloaf.

It’s easy to prepare and delicious. Now you know the history of meatloaf, and you can consider it for your next weeknight meal!

Enjoy your meatloaf with some smashed garlic potatoes!

Book NowBook Now