When I was a child, my mom and dad threw parties. Real adult parties with balloons, decorations, cocktails, buffet style food, and my mom’s “specialty,” sandwich loaf. What is sandwich loaf, you ask? Well, allow me to explain: picture a loaf of bread sliced three times horizontally, then layered with egg salad, ham salad (there’s not enough room in this post to explain ham salad!) and tuna salad, reassembled, and sliced into pieces. Yes, that was sandwich loaf. Basically, each cross sectioned slice would have all three salads represented, separated by bread. Watching her make it several times a year burned it into my memory forever.
By now you can probably tell that I grew up on the tail end of the weird food buffet era known as the Seventies. Definitely not the prim and proper Fifties, sort of like the Sixties, but with more bell bottoms. We’d dust off the bar in the basement, unpack the chafing dishes, light the Sterno and marvel at its eerie blue glow. Another one of her favorite things to make for parties was Swedish meatballs. The meatballs were served heated up in a sauce that was, and I am not joking here, equal parts Concord grape jelly and yellow mustard. To my kid brain, this seemed more of a food dare than something to serve at a party to guests, but maybe adults were into that kind of thing. I stayed away from the meatballs, and any meatball, for that matter, for quite some time.
But I learned to love them eventually, once my tastebuds developed a bit. Meatballs of any kind and from any culture make pretty wonderful comfort food, (I’m looking at you, spaghetti and meatballs!) but they don’t always have to be made of mystery meat. They can be light and fresh, too, without a speck of grape jelly or mustard anywhere!
Take this new flatbread recipe, for example. This nice little flatbread wrap packs a protein punch from lean ground chicken and quinoa, an ancient whole grain. Spice up the meatball mix any way you like, then roll those babies up, cook them, and tuck them into a refreshing salad filled flatbread for a sandwich, not a sandwich loaf, that’s anything but same old, same old.
-Amy at Flatout