Today on my music blog, I wrote about how I got a mild ration of shit for not enjoying Janis Joplin’s music. It always cracks me up when I express an opinion, particularly about a certain food or type of music, and someone tries to convince me that I’m wrong. There’s no accounting for taste. Opinions differ. I know a lot of people like Janis Joplin’s music. Many people think she was extraordinary. A lot of people feel that way about Barbra Streisand, too. I like songs by Janis and Barbra, but I think they’re overrated singers. It’s just my opinion. I’m entitled to it. You’re entitled to yours.
Anyway, as I was writing about the contentious Janis Joplin thread I had going last night, it occurred to me that I don’t like Meat Loaf, either. I mean, I don’t like the singer– not the dish. I actually LOVE meatloaf, the dish. I make a mean one, stuffed with cheese, ham, and loaded with Italian spices. It’s been too long since I last made one, too. Maybe we’ll do it this weekend. As I look for a photo of meatloaf, I see that it doesn’t look appetizing… but damn, it tastes good!
In fact, here’s the recipe for Stuffed Italian Meatloaf. You can’t say I never gave you anything.
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 C soft bread crumbs
1/2 C tomato juice (or tomato sauce– I have used leftover Ragu sauce successfully)
2 T parsley
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t pepper
1/2 clove garlic
2 lbs ground beef
6-9 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
3 slices mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (176 Celsius). Combine all ingredients except meat and cheese. Mix in ground beef, form 10×12 rectangle on waxed paper. Sprinkle cheese almost to edge. Beginning at short side, roll up meat, sealing edges and ends. Place seam side down in 9×13 baking dish. Bake 1 1/4 hours. Place cheese slices over top and return to oven to melt. Serves 10 to 12. If you want to, you can also put thin broiled ham slices under the shredded cheese as more stuffing. This recipe comes from the Virginia Hospitality cookbook and I’ve served it to many people with great success!
Back to Meat Loaf, and why I don’t like him. There’s a reason I’m not a fan of Meat Loaf, also known as Michael Lee Aday. It’s not because he’s a bad singer. I fully recognize that he’s a great entertainer and a talented singer. I know people love his music and appreciate his theatrical style. He has a powerful, operatic voice, as well as a sense of humor that appeals to many. I don’t own any of his music, though, and I own music by lots and lots of musicians from a broad array of genres. Meat Loaf was popular when I was a child and I heard him on the radio a lot. I probably could have taken or left him, if not for an incident that occurred in early 1994.
One weekend, during my senior year in college, I had gone to visit my relatives in Natural Bridge, Virginia. It was cold outside, so it must have been in the winter– I think it was February, because I remember telling my aunt that graduation was coming up in just a few months. My cousin, who was then a senior in high school and very popular with males, was invited to a party. She asked me to go with her. We went to some guy’s house… I don’t remember his name, but I do remember that he had a son named Brian who was about my age. My cousin is four years younger than I am, so that would mean Brian was an adult, while she was still a minor. They were apparently dating at the time.
So there we were at Brian’s father’s house. We had gone there to pick up “dad” so we could all go to the party together. As Brian was getting ready for the festivities, dear old dad struck up a conversation with me. He told me that he’d gone to high school with my Uncle Steve. Steve was born in 1945, which means that he’s 27 years older than I am. Steve has two children and they’re both slightly older than I am. My cousin and Brian were making eyes at each other. Dear old dad was apparently making eyes at me. I was oblivious.
He turned on the stereo. Meat Loaf’s hit song, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” was playing. I remember it was the first time I’d really heard that song, although I’d heard about it from my friends. I don’t know how I missed it, since it was probably Meat Loaf’s best loved hit.
I remember listening to the music as Brian finally got finished gussying up. We went to the party in Brian’s car, while my cousin’s car was left at Brian’s dad’s house. Brian and my cousin eventually disappeared together, and I was left there alone, talking to people I didn’t know very well. I remember meeting a woman who went to Randolph-Macon College and was roommates with a woman I’d gone to school with in Gloucester County. I wasn’t good friends with her roommate. In fact, we’d had a very contentious history. Her younger brother ruined my very first Walkman knockoff by putting it in a swimming pool, and her mom got angry at my dad for requesting that she pay for the damaged item. I don’t think their mom ever forgave my dad, even though her son had purposely ruined my radio. He’s probably completely forgotten that incident, but I haven’t.
Anyway, it was kind of interesting that my old schoolmate’s roomie was at this party, which was clear across the state from Gloucester and Randolph-Macon College. That was probably the coolest thing that happened that night. She eventually got up to get some beer, and I was suddenly confronted by Brian’s father, who was EXTREMELY drunk. He’d apparently spent a couple of hours at that party just sitting there getting hammered. He was so intoxicated he couldn’t keep his eyes open. It was not an appealing or attractive look for him, and frankly, it made me nervous to talk to him.
Brian’s dad then proceeded to hit on me. I was 21 years old. He was in his late 40s and piss drunk. Here I was, sitting alone while my cousin made out with Brian. Brian’s dad slurred, “You’re sooo cute… Let’sh go to my housh and wait…” He wanted me to accompany him to his house and hang out there with him, alone. I don’t think he would have harmed me, unless we died on the way out of there. He was so wasted that he was close to passing out.
I told him I didn’t want to go with him. For one thing, he was dead drunk and had absolutely no business driving. For another thing, I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in him, especially in his inebriated state. I didn’t want to hang out with him when he was that drunk. I doubt I would have wanted to get to know him when he was sober, either. He quickly revealed himself to be an asshole of the first order. So I said no… more than once. He wouldn’t take it as an answer.
“Aw come on…” he begged. “Let’sh go. You’re shoooo pretty… I knew your Uncle Sh’teve in school…” Those beer goggles were strapped on tight!
“No.” I said. “I need to wait for my cousin.”
“She’s okayyyy…” he slurred. “She’s with my Sh’ON!”
Yeah… that was what I was afraid of, especially if his son was anything like him. So I said, “I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“Bitch!” he shrieked, suddenly not finding me so “cute” anymore. “You’re jusht a bitch!” He finally staggered off in a rage.
At that point, I got distinctly uncomfortable and decided to remove myself from that situation. I found the party’s hostess and asked if I could borrow her phone. The hostess was very apologetic as I called my aunt to come and get me.
My aunt showed up a little bit later, very upset. She hissed, “I feel like taking her to the emergency room!” referring to my cousin.
“Why would you do that?” I asked.
“What do you think they were doing?” aunt said, fuming. Clearly she assumed they were having sex.
I looked over at Brian’s car and sure enough, the windows were fogged up. I could see him on top of my cousin. It looked like they were kissing passionately. I don’t know if anything else happened that night, and I never asked. I do remember trying to drive my uncle’s truck home with my cousin in it, as her mom had gone to retrieve my cousin’s car. The truck had a “three on the tree” gear shift, so I kept shifting wrong, making the ride home even less comfortable than it otherwise would have been. I apologized to her for “ratting” her out, but I didn’t see any other way to get out of that situation with Brian’s drunk dad, who was making me very uncomfortable. I didn’t have my own transportation and didn’t know where she was, so I had to call for help.
My cousin was surprisingly chill about it and didn’t get angry with me. Maybe she was relieved that I called her mom. Unfortunately, Meat Loaf’s music is now completely ruined for me. I didn’t really like most of his songs that much anyway, though. I remember right before that incident, he had a hit in “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, a song that I never liked. After meeting Brian’s dad at that party, I can say that I like it even less!
Isn’t it funny how music can trigger memories? Some are good. Some are distinctly bad. I know people love Meat Loaf and hate meatloaf. I love meatloaf, but would rather pass on Meat Loaf. Every time I hear his music– especially “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”, I’m reminded of Brian and Brian’s drunk ass dad. Come to think of it, I don’t really like parties that much, either.