Carol Falkowski’s favorite meatloaf sculpture to make is a clown.
“It’s much less grim than the way the world is going,” she says of her artistic obsession. “And it just looks so ridiculous. That’s why I love it.”
Try it. Just look at a clown meatloaf and try not to smile.
Perhaps it all depends on how you feel about clowns, and meatloaf for that matter, but Falkowski likes the clown so much because anyone can do it.
“You just make a circle, and stick a tomato in the middle for a nose! Carrot curls. You have to make carrot curls first,” she says, warning me of the most challenging aspect of the meatloaf clown.
When she’s not cutting carrot curls for meatloaf hair, Falkowski is a nationally recognized addiction expert who penned the book Dangerous Drugs: An Easy-To-Use Reference for Parents and Professionals. “It gets grim,” she says.
Also grim? Having your entire family come to stay and being solely responsible for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners. A couple of years ago, Falkowski dealt with the daunting prospect by making a meatloaf in a ring shape for the first night.
“It looked so plain, so I stuck some green beans in it. And then my brother put some ketchup on it. And we served the mashed potatoes in the middle.”
People got such a kick out it, that it just stuck.
“Now everything I look at, I just see meatloaf.”
Honeybees, a mug of beer, Santa Claus, a goddamn lighthouse! Anything can be made into a meatloaf, as long as you think outside the pan, she says. “I want to start a social movement to resist the pan.”
Aside from the clown, she suggests beginners start with a meatloaf birthday cake. Just fashion the loaf into a rectangle, and frost it with mashed potatoes. Then, decorate with vegetables or edible glitter, or whatever strikes your meaty fancy.
When I suggest that you could almost make a birthday cake meatloaf in a loaf pan, Falkowski falls silent. Clearly, I have gone off track.
“No. You must resist the pan. Meatloaf has been underachieving. Maybe it has a victim complex, I don’t know. It looks so unappealing in the pan. With just a little [effort], meatloaf can really shine.”
To assist you in your very own meatloaf achievement, go to her website and purchase Meatloaf Outside the Pan or go and check out the latest loaf. But beware: Once you start this journey, you won't be able to stop seeing meatloaf. Everywhere.
Our personal favorite, and undoubtedly one of meatloaf's crowning achievements, is a Trump vs. Hillary loaf. She got Trump's singular hue with turkey and carrots. Hillary is made with white bread. Read into this what you will.
And while she provides a foolproof recipe (her secret ingredient is Italian sausage), Falkowski encourages would-be meatloaf sculptors to use their very own beloved recipe, even vegetarian and vegan loaves. “Meatloaf is great no matter what. It’s hard to make a bad meatloaf.”
Does she ever get tired of it? No. "I had some for breakfast. I had some for dinner last night."
Just remember not to overcook. It doesn’t take as long to cook a loaf when it isn’t jammed into that nasty old pan.
Check out how Falkowski gets some of her inspirations in this neat vid:
Meatloaf Outside the Pan retails on Amazon for $16.99.