Monday, November 09, 2015

Cover Story Due, Thinking Meatloaf, Making Chicken...

You know, I had this freaking great cover story due on the 25 of November. I started collecting my info, making my "people to call" list, doing a few interview. Nice and easy. Started to prep my office/living space for painting with a nice new bright pink and then I get notice that my story has been moved up two weeks and can I get 4500 words down on paper for a cover in 5 days. HAHAHAHA! Yeah, sure.
   But of course, yeah, sure. I'm a freaking gunslinger when it comes to getting good material out and I love to be challenged. This story is about the changes to our approach to incarceration and sentencing that have been happening for a couple of years on the state and federal level. And though lots of writers have taken on one or two of the key elements, I have not seen any story that takes on all of them. That's the beauty of being a weekly: We get to look at the story from a distance since we're not competing to get the scoop generally. Our vision from that distance makes its own scoop.
   So I kicked butt, made the calls, made more calls, typed the phone interviews till my fingers were falling off and then today, the day before the story is due, and the day before it's going to press--there is no margin of error here--I was back on the phone at 8:30 AM and then again at 9AM. All good. Got what I want in the bag. Problem? How to turn the 14,000 words of interviews with 15 people plus the six official government papers, plus the 27 newpaper and internet clips into a story in less than 24 hours.
   So what could I do? I volunteered to drive Madeleina to school 90- minutes away, which killed three hours but gave me time to ruminate. Then I sat down and plunked out 1,400 words, the opening section, and outlined the next three sections and the end.
   Then my sister wrote to say she was making a meatloaf lover a meatloaf and did the recipe she took a picture of measure up? It was a good recipe, actually. But then I gave her mine, with all measures in general common sense. If I say garlic and onions minced and sauteed, obviously, for 2 1/2 pounds of meat I mean about 4 tablespoons of minced garlic in olive oil and one large red onion, maybe 12 ounces. Common sense, right?
So this is what I gave her:
My basic meatloaf:
Beef and pork, mix. About 1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck; 1 pound of ground pork (I used to do veal until I stopped using veal)
Saute pan: chopped garlic, onion and two sticks cerely; saute in olive oil if you have it; salt and pepper, add two diced roma tomatoes and cook thoroughly, then add all to the raw meat in a bowl.
Add breadcrumbs—maybe a cup or so—two whole eggs, some ketchup and a bit of Worstershire. Mustard or mustard powder if you like. A little sage or fresh parsley (chopped) if you like. Mix all thoroughly. Check for salt and pepper.
   Put in baking dish, cover with three/four slices bacon, put in oven (on silver foil so it won't drip into oven when it rises).
   Bake at 350 for about 70 minutes, turn down to 300 for last 20 minutes. pull from oven, pour off fat, let cool a bit before slicing and serving with mashed or boiled potatoes and a good green veg.

Of course, now that I'm starving for meatloaf, I'm making simple chicken thighs, dressed in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, served with a bit of basmati rice, a salad, and broccoli. It's gonna be good, but not as good at the meatloaf. And I hope my editor doesn't see this or he'll think I'm goofing off!!!! I think of it as meditation time.
Bon Appetite!

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