Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meatballs Then and Now

once upon a time
the Lord of the manor
had a joint of meat
the serfs got the scraps
fat, sinew, bones
these leavings
had flavor
but were difficult
to eat as is

the little scraps
would be finely chopped
and mixed with
other ingredients
barley, rice, stale bread
added to absorb the flavors
and make them go farther

in hard times ground meats
become popular
because they are less costly
depression meatballs
were at least half
fillers with an egg
to bind it all together
they can be baked or fried
one type of meat or
mixed meats
finally a sauce is added
tomato is a favorite
glazes with fruit, a possibility
Kecap Manis and lime juice
if you like an Indonesian touch
teriyaki sauce, more Asian in flavor
let your imagination run wild

the photo is TJ’s
gourmet chicken meat balls
no fillers
nuked in TJ’s fresh cherry preserves
grandma’s hard times cooking
comes full circle

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Thanks to S. Rai for suggesting
meatballs and the kecap manis


  1. Delicious. This has everything, history, politics, flavor and chicken instead of beef and pork that cuts fat and carbon emissions. My nonna made fantastic meatballs, simmered for hours in a ragout. She's like these too, I think, being always one to experiment in the kitchen.

  2. a sumptous looking dish
    have a sharing of my tomato haiga video here
    (Saturday July 4th 2009)

    much love

  3. Thanks for the meatballs -- comfort food for this Italian boy, made just like you said, with mixed ground meats, good filler, herbs and egg. Sounds mundane, but rates your poetic visual treatment. Anybody remember that old depression era novelty song, "One meatball..." Silly and I can't get it out of my head. Maybe it's the economy that brings it back. "You gets no bread with one meat ball.."

  4. Um Yumm, Gillena. Love those roasted tomatoes with cool jazz. Another comfort food for me, and so pretty. Thanks.