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Grim's Grub: The ultimate comfort food - with a twist

The soundtrack of my childhood.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc. / PineandLakes.com

Marvin Lee Aday was born Sept. 27, 1947, in Texas and led a life maybe too crazy to believe. Some say he was an incorrigible exaggerator.

When he was born, he was beet red and stayed that way for days, leading his father to compare him to ground chuck and have "meat" written on his crib. His father was an alcoholic and he often rode with his mother through their Texas hometown from bar to bar looking for him. He often stayed with his grandmother when times were hard.

While many can say exactly what they were doing and where they were when President Kennedy was shot, Aday likely has particularly vivid memories. On that day he was 16 and he went to Dallas Love Field to witness the president's arrival there and actually met Kennedy.

He wasn't witness to the shooting, but when he heard about it he tried to go to the hospital where he witnessed Jackie Kennedy exiting the vehicle, covered in blood.

In seventh grade, he was 5-foot-2 and weighed 240 pounds. He was an athlete and a performer. He appeared in school plays and played on the football team, where he once stepped on his coach's foot and was called a hunk of meatloaf in response.

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When he was 19, his mother died from cancer and his father attacked him with a knife after the funeral. He later moved to Los Angeles to become a musician.

There is too much about him to fit in a short column, but here are some unique details.

  • He once gained 60-70 pounds to avoid the draft.
  • He was set to star in the original production of "Hair" but dropped out to avoid the nude scene, saying he didn't need an extra $12.50, the bonus they paid for nude scenes.
  • He was an outspoken vegetarian for a portion of his life starting in the '80s.
  • He once said his most prized possession was his collection of more than 100 rubber ducks, including a Derek Jeter rubber duck and Frank-N-Furter duck.

This column is, of course, inspired by the death of Aday - or Meat Loaf, if you prefer - on Jan. 20, 2022. His death spelled the loss of a unique person who wrote music that, at least for me, functioned like a soundtrack to real life.

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Dead Ringer is the second studio album by hard rock band Meat Loaf. Michael Lee Aday better known as Meat Loaf, was an American singer and actor.
Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

I remember being blown away by the lyrics and music video for "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" by Meat Loaf the first time I saw it. He had an uncanny way of making the listener feel his lyrics.

I remember "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" was also basically the soundtrack to many family car rides at the time. Meat Loaf's music had an uncommon ability to match his lyrics to relateable experiences, something that "Baseketball," a raunchy movie that admittedly isn't for everyone, jokes about.

I don't agree with everything he ever said, and I've heard stories about his conduct when he headlined Moondance Jam, but his music is, coincidentally, something that helps me remember my own past - usually the times that were good. And for that I am grateful and sad for his loss.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Recipe from Wilma Beavers in the Backus Centennial Cook Book

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Cheeseburger meatloaf in a porcelain baking pan.
Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

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  • 1 copy "Bat Out of Hell" (whatever format you prefer)
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 package cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 3 slices American cheese, cut diagonally

Start the album "Bat Out of Hell" by Meat Loaf on whatever device you prefer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a bread pan with foil.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp and then drain it on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the drippings and return that in the pan to the heat. Cook the onion until golden and allow it to cool for five minutes.
Crumble 3 slices of bacon into a large bowl, then stir in the beef, stuffing mix and egg with two tablespoons of ketchup and the mustard, 1/4 cup of water and onion. Press the mixture into the loaf pan and spread the remaining ketchup on top. Bake it for 1 hour or until done.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and arrange the cheese on top with the remaining bacon. Return it to the oven briefly until the cheese melts, then let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Marcella Fisher's "Superior Meat Loaf"
From the Odds-and-Ends Homemaker's Club recipe book

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Superior meat loaf with onion soup mix spices on rustic wooden cutting board.
Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

  • 1 copy "Bat Out of Hell II"
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk or water
  • 1/3 cup ketchup

Start the album "Bat Out of Hell II" by Meat Loaf in whichever device you prefer.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Press the meat into a loaf pan and bake it for 1 hour or until done.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

Related Topics: FOODHISTORYMUSICGRIM'S GRUB
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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