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That One Time I Made Frosted Meatloaf


July 1, 2013 by J.C. Lillis

So a while back I issued a foolhardy promise at the end of this post: submit a vintage recipe more revolting than the Libby’s Creamed Corn & Wiener Roast, and I would whip it up in my own kitchen and post the pictorial evidence here.

My Twitter pal Urb rose to the challenge with this truly repellent concoction from the 1969 Good Housekeeping, originally exhumed by the fine folks at Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome. To answer a question no sane person ever asked, this is what Frosted Meatloaf looks like:

(You can see the whole ad over at Archie McPhee’s; it also featured a meatloaf in bundt-cake drag, because it was the Summer of Love and even the entrees were countercultural.)

Anyway. Because I never break a promise, and because I have a guilty affection for foods many people find disgusting (meatloaf, lumpy Cream of Wheat, canned green beans, pudding skin), I agreed to make this. On a rainy Sunday, with my six-year-old happily parked in front of Little Shop of Horrors, I assembled the following ingredients on my countertop.

Already I was running into trouble. The recipe called for “Golden Mushroom Soup,” but after a thorough investigation (i.e., five minutes in the Target soup aisle), I determined that such a thing no longer existed and went with Cream of Mushroom instead. Also, do you have any idea how hard it is to find “bread cubes”? Like, just regular, small, unseasoned cubes, not giant thumb-sized croutons with names like Scorchin’ Jalapeno Blast or Cool Ranch Explosion. I bought Stove Top because it was as close as I could get, but of course there’s no beef-flavored stuffing, so I went with the chicken flavor and tried to sift out the little spicy bits that allegedy make it chickeny.

“Um. . .can I ask where you’re putting me, exactly?”
“Hush, Stove Top. Best you not know.”

Now the recipe says “Mix thoroughly beef, ½ cup soup, bread, onion, salt, and pepper.” This is when the lack of Golden Mushroom Soup began to vex me in earnest, because I’ve made one or two meatloaves in my time, and not once have I ever been instructed to mix in something the consistency of tapioca pudding. I began to suspect this would not end well.

I forged ahead. I mixed. I followed the instructions to “shape firmly into loaf.” When it was done, I regretted chopping the onions so coarsely, because the loaf—while firm—looked like something Scully would find in the closet of an X-Files villain seconds before being chloroformed.


I would like to say it improved during its 60 minutes in the oven, but. . .yeah.

While a pound and a half of evil roasted meatily in its dish, I set about making the sauce for the top. Elegantly simple; just three ingredients: soup, water, and the ominous “drippings.” Again, I regretted the absence of the Golden Mushroom Soup, because the recipe photo depicts a thin, Thanksgivingy gravy drizzled atop the frosted loaf, while my facsimile looks like it should be ladled over biscuits and chipped beef and ordered by a trucker with a death wish.

But whatever. I sense you’re getting impatient, waiting for the money shot. FROST THE GODDAMNED MEATLOAF ALREADY SO WE CAN ALL GO HOME.

Tell me, little-used kitchen implements: who among you is up for the task?


Only the brave little spatula came forward.

As soon as I popped the lid off the potatoes, guilt set in. The meatbomb looked angry. Sad. Could I really justify smothering it, too?

(Don’t even talk to me about the potatoes. I know the Country Crock stuff was a copout. But seriously, if I ever got it together enough to make ACTUAL mashed potatoes on a Sunday afternoon, there’s no way I’d be frosting a meatloaf with them.)

So, okay. Here goes.

Tip: if you’re ever contemplating frosting a meatloaf with one hand and taking an iPad picture with the other? DON’T.

The finished atrocity.


Yes, I ate it.

Honestly, it was okay. A little dry, and the soup-sauce was a Frankenhorror, but I found it pleasingly edible once I added the right proportions of garlic salt, pepper, and desperation. You would eat it too if you still lived like an international spy who changed her name every three months and the inside of your refrigerator looked like this:

Thus endeth the Frosted Meatloaf adventure. Urb, love, I hope you’re happy. Next time, I’m setting a place at the table for you.



  1. Heather C says:

    Hahahaha. At least yours kinda looks like meat loaf. The originally looks like a cake

    • J.C. Lillis says:

      seriously. Like, why were people disguising meat products as dessert in the 60s? If they weren’t shoving dinner in gelatin molds, they were baking it in bundt pans and improvising salty frosting. (Is it wrong that I’m hungry now? I’m worrying myself.)

  2. Urbanista says:

    What ahoy? Country Crock mashed potatoes? Hey, where can I get those? Lol, this was just hilarious. I’m sorry the meatloaf looked angry and sad, (SNORKT!!) but I think Country Crock mashed potatoes can cure any woe. I used to work in food advertising, and if you wanted it to look good, you best not follow the alleged recipe! I like lumpy creme o’ wheat too, and also pudding skin. Best of all–I love aspic! This just made my day, thanks for following through with something inconceivable–frosted meatloaf. Yum.

    • J.C. Lillis says:

      I know, the discovery of Country Crock potatoes has significantly improved my quality of life (I just get ‘em at Giant, next to the meat case). Although every time I crack open a tub, I have this weird moment of disconnect where my brain thinks I’m about to eat butter by the spoonful.

      You worked in food advertising?! I’m imagining all of your Mad Men stories now. I think YOU need to start a blog.

  3. Cole Riann says:

    Okay I’m sorry to have apparently low standards, but that looks totally fucking good! I’d eat it!

    Probably just cause I’m super hungry right now though. I’m about to have a chicken melt on my panini :D

  4. LMAO, you are a brave woman. I was relieved to find it was mashed potatoes on the meatloaf, because in the picture at the top, it totally looks like someone put cake frosting on a meatloaf. O.o

    My fridge looks just like that, but with more beer. So I guess I live more like a college kid than an international spy. This does not say good things about me.

    • J.C. Lillis says:

      If I’d taken a pic of the other side, you would’ve seen the vodka in the freezer.

      I was also getting buttercream vibes from the original photo. *shudder*

  5. JayHJay says:

    OMG! The horrors! I know you will not be offended my dear when I tell you that I’m sorry to say that might be the scariest looking meatloaf I have ever seen!

    I am going to say that it is totally due to the lack of Golden Mushroom soup. With it I am sure yours would have been perfect! I am pretty sure it still exists btw. It isn’t a cream soup, it is sort of a thin brown broth with sliced mushrooms. I think when cooked it would have been more like broth rather than the creamy soup you used. So that is totally too blame.

    And seriously, who the heck has time to make homemade mashed potatoes? (though your fridge does scare me a little!)

    • J.C. Lillis says:

      See, I totally jumped to conclusions and assumed Golden Mushroom soup was one of those quaint retro foods you can’t find anymore. I agree, the soup was completely to blame. I’m a domestic goddess when I’m not hamstrung by Target’s lack of appropriate foodstuffs.

  6. ravenm says:

    Just for next time: I’m sure that will make aaaaallll the difference.

    • J.C. Lillis says:

      *notes existence of Golden Mushroom soup* *giggles furtively at the idea that there might be a “next time” for Frosted Meatloaf*

      Thanks! :-)

  7. [...] If I wasn’t already head over heels for this girl, I have one word for you. Aspic. Yes, the mid-century jello mold that suspended the dinners of a generation. Clan Hutchings and I will spend hours sending each other pins of gross looking retro food. JC goes one better. SHE MAKES IT. And blogs about it. [...]

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