To some, a BBQ meatloaf burger sounds utterly mouthwatering and delicious; and yet to others, it may perhaps seem a little over the top. Certainly our tastes can differ on all things in life, because we each experience and process things in a unique way, which is actually wonderful grounds for interaction between us. The hope is that our interaction can be done in a spirit of kindness, compassion and curiosity rather than judgement.
Developing recipes packed with love, care and good intention, and then putting them out there into the public forum for any and all to peruse and scrutinize, can have both its pros and its cons, as you can imagine.
The pros are that I get to share what’s swimming around on the inside—my creativity, encouragement, love and nurture—with others through the work that I do; and in return, I so very often am blessed to receive amazing interaction and connection from the audience that makes what I do meaningful, alive, and an utter joyful pleasure.
In my view, the vast majority of people keep things positive, and are looking to also connect and find something that resonates with them, either in a recipe or in a post, and don’t visit a site like mine for the explicit reason to be judgmental or rude; rather, they have an attitude of curiosity and appreciation.
But every now and again, on rare occasion, there’ll be a snarky comment, or a “question” that seems more like an opinion statement rather than a question, that comes through on the blog that simply makes me shake my head at how we human beings can be in our behavior toward one another.
I recently had a visitor who shared her opinion (disguised as a loaded-yet-innocent question, in this case) on the quantity of some of the ingredients I used in a particular recipe, not at all hiding her skepticism that the recipe would be very good if those were, indeed, the amounts I meant to list.
And never mind that the comments below that recipe (which just happened to be fairly popular one) were from many folks who had prepared it according to the instructions and had enjoyed it thoroughly.
That, I guess, didn’t matter.
So what does one do with that?
My first impulse, which in a situation like this is often governed by that purely emotion-driven and defensive part of myself, was to call her out and let her know that I felt she had only come to comment in order to express judgement.
What I wanted was to be snarky right back.
But instead, I gave it a few moments, took a deep breath (or two, or three), shook my head at the absurdity of it all (her comment and my irritation with it), and decided to, instead, try to engage that more empathetic part of myself in order to provide her with a kind response, and address the issue she brought up.
Human interactions…gotta love ’em!
But in all sincerity, we do gotta love ’em.
They’re what provide that good type of friction, and what teach those of us who want to continue growing upwardly to be more merciful, compassionate, loving, graceful, and gratitude-filled people, while sharpening our inner “tools”, or spiritual life.
They create spaces and opportunities to practice finding love and kindness as a response even when it’s difficult to, or it isn’t our first impulse.
They’re where the rubber meets the road.
My prayer lately has been that I react with kindness and understanding in challenging situations.
My hope is that I can be motivated by something higher and more loving when I interact with others, and see them more as our Creator sees them.
What a thing that would be!
So while I did, in all honesty and transparency, become irritated and feel slighted by the tone of the visitor’s comment (or “question”), she did actually give me a couple of gifts: first, she gave me a topic on which to write a post (love that!); and second, she gave me yet another opportunity (among many in any given day) to be aware that I can make a choice in regards to how I see things and respond to them, taking a moment to turn my face to the One who created me to ask for a better attitude and a more loving and merciful way of being.
A more kind way of seeing.
And that’s a request I know from personal experience that never gets denied.
Sure, you may or may not care for my BBQ Meatloaf Burger recipe, and wonder why I didn’t just leave meatloaf well-enough alone?
You may wonder why I made it the way that I did, or why I used the ingredients or quantities that I did; or, you may just love it!
And you know what? That’s all A-OK.
I think if each of us can try to find that more merciful and kind part of ourselves, that part that can relate to another and imagine standing in their shoes, then I think how we approach each other and then how we respond will look a lot less judgmental and snarky, and a lot more genuinely inquisitive, kind, caring, and compassionate.
Who knew the world of blogging could teach such lessons!
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
BBQ Meatloaf Burger with Crispy-Fried Shallots
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4-6
• 1 ½ lbs. organic ground beef (I used 85/15 ratio)
• 3 ounce french roll, processed into breadcrumbs in food processor (or roughly 2 cups loosely packed)
• 1 egg, whisked
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• ½ small onion, finely diced
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon chopped, flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 ¼ cup BBQ sauce (recipe below, or store bought is fine)
• Brioche burger buns, toasted
• 8-12 strips crispy bacon
• Crispy-fried Shallots (recipe below, or you can use store-bought crispy-fried onions)
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
-Place the ground beef into a large bowl; add in the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the black pepper, and gently mix together with your hands just until well combined.
-Place the meat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and hand-form into a meatloaf shape; brush about ¼ (heaping) cup of the BBQ sauce all over the meatloaf, then sprinkle on a little black pepper, and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until cooked through; allow the meatloaf to rest for about 10 minutes.
-Slather on about ½ cup more of the BBQ sauce, then slice the meatloaf into medium-thick slices.
-Assemble the burgers by spreading a little mayo (if desired) onto both top and bottom bun; add a couple of slices of meatloaf (you can add a little more BBQ sauce, if desired), followed by a couple of strips of bacon and a sprinkle of some of the Crispy-fried Shallots; cover with top bun, and serve.
-(For any leftovers, just do what my hubby loves to do: reheat the meatloaf slices in a pan until warm and slightly browned-crisp, and assemble.)
BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
• 1 cup organic ketchup
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• ¾ teaspoon liquid smoked seasoning (can typically be found in the condiment isle)
• ½ teaspoon granulated onion
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• Pinch of two salt
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
-In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well-combined; spoon into a container and use immediately, or store in fridge (also any unused portion).
Crispy-fried Shallot Ingredients:
• Vegetable oil, for frying
• 4 shallots, sliced thinly into circles
• Black pepper
• ¼ cup, heaping, flour
• Pinch paprika
-Place oil into a small/medium-size pot, and slowly bring the oil up to 365°.
-Meanwhile, place the sliced shallots into a bowl, and sprinkle on a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, plus the flour and the paprika; toss to coat.
-In batches (if necessary), add the flour-coated shallots into the hot oil, and fry for a couple of minutes until golden-brown; remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, and sprinkle with a little extra salt/pepper, if desired; repeat with remaining shallots.
-Once cooled, they can be stored in a ziplock bag lined with a paper towel.