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Pat Nixon's meatloaf a popular taste from the past

Thursday, January 03, 2002

We have our doubts that it was ever served at a state dinner, but it was one of Richard Nixon's favorite foods -- meatloaf. Former first lady Pat Nixon's meatloaf recipe appeared years ago in the Post-Gazette.


Here is what the PG said about Mrs. Nixon's meatloaf: "This recipe for family-style meatloaf is from the Nixon administration and belonged to first lady Pat Nixon. It was so popular that the recipe was printed on White House stationery to be mailed on request." It appeared in "The White House Family Cookbook" by Henry Haller, 1987.

Carol B. of the Hill District requested this recipe: "I'm looking for a recipe that I believe is called Pat Nixon's Meatloaf. I remember that it was more involved than most meatloaf recipes that I am used to, but it was very good."

We received about 50 recipes for Pat Nixon's meatloaf. Here are some of the comments regarding this recipe: "I found this to be my favorite meatloaf," said Barbara Gardill of Baldwin Borough. "I found a copy of Pat Nixon's meatloaf in my recipe file. I've clipped so many good recipes from the PG and the Press that I'm very glad to be able to respond to a request after all these years," said Sara K. Stotsky of Evans City. Sidney McCandless of Elizabeth wrote: "The herbs were nice but not enough." And from Sheri Jones of Ross: "I noticed with amusement while typing this recipe that tomato puree is called for instead of ketchup. I suppose that ketchup would have been too bourgeois for the White House!"

And here's our comment: We really couldn't describe this recipe as involved. It may have a few more steps -- such as sauteing the onions and garlic -- but that's about as involved as it gets. The meatloaf was tasty and held together (we had doubts because the recipe called for 1 cup of milk). If we decide to make this meatloaf again, we may not use the tomato puree (we had a hard time justifying opening a can of tomato puree for just 2 tablespoons) -- we just may go for the ketchup!

Kitchen Mailbox thanks all our readers who responded to this request. We're sorry we could not add all of your names.


2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 slices white bead
1 cup milk
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons bread crumbs

Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Melt butter in a saute pan, add garlic and saute until just golden -- do not brown. Let cool.

Dice bread and soak it in milk. In a large mixing bowl, mix ground beef by hand with sauteed onions and garlic and bread pieces. Add eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and marjoram and mix by hand in a circular motion.

Turn this mixture into the prepared baking pan and pat into a loaf shape, leaving at least one inch of space around the edges to allow fat to run off. Brush the top with the tomato puree and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to penetrate and to firm up the loaf.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake meatloaf on lower shelf of oven for 1 hour, or until meat is cooked through. Pour off accumulated fat several times while baking and after meat is fully cooked. Let stand on wire rack for five minutes before slicing. Makes 6 servings.


Marci Woodruff of Squirrel Hill writes: "It was great to see the Rum Cake recipe in today's food section -- it's the same recipe my mom passed down to me. Over the years, I've developed several variations that are quite popular when I entertain. Below you'll find Marci's variations of the Rum Cake recipe from the Dec. 20 Kitchen Mailbox.

Chocolate Chambord Cake: Follow same recipe but substitute chocolate cake mix, chocolate or fudge pudding and Chambord for the rum.

Grand Marnier Cake: Orange cake mix and lemon pudding and Grand Marnier.


Bonnie Pawlowski of Munhall would like the recipe for Eat'n Park's potato soup.

Pat Mishoe of Marietta, Ga., writes: "I'm searching for a recipe for a particular Prune Cake. It's more like a pie. Bunny Bread Company used to sell them. Any chance of getting that recipe?"

Dick Hanna of Whitehall writes: "Does anyone know of a store that sells plum puddings? If so, would also like to have a good recipe for the sauce that goes over the pudding. It's been a long time since former members of the family made the sauce and they are no longer here to divulge the various secrets."

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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