Posted by: Erica Retrochef | January 3, 2011

What, a “meatless” meat loaf?

Uh… well, actually, no. This is a recipe for “Baked Macaroni Loaf,” despite what the confused and dubious woman floating above the “meatloaf” might say.

1-1/2 cups Ann Page Elbow Macaroni
1 cup White House Milk
1 cup water
1-1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon Ann Page Pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1-1/2 tablespoons grated onion
2 cups grated cheese (1/2 pound)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Ann Page Paprika
2 eggs, well beaten

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Heat evaporated milk and water; pour over bread crumbs; add remaining ingredients except eggs. Add bread crumb mixture to well-beaten eggs; combine with macaroni. Pour into buttered loaf pan; bake in moderate oven, 350° F., for 50 minutes or until loaf is firm. Garnish with broiled tomatoes and parsley, if desired. 6 servings.

As usual, I substituted liberally for Ann Page’s brand-name recommendations. Fun side note: the White House Milk Company was a subsidiary of A&P for a while, making evaporated milk. But when researching the company, I came across this image….

But that is some seriously nasty smoke coming out of their smokestacks. I’m assuming it is from some sort of boiler to pasteurize, sterilize, and/or evaporate the milk… but I’m also assuming some of that particulate pollution ended up wafting back into the factory. Yum!

Anyhow, you’re here for the retro cooking, not retro pollution. Here are the poor ingredients, little suspecting the trauma they’re about to undergo…

Note: you can use 2 cups of milk in place of the evaporated milk plus water. Y’know, if you’re crazy enough to want to try this yourself.

Mixing everything together just was not appetizing at all. For some reason, a fair number of retro recipes go through a stage where they look like barf.

Some never get beyond that stage.

Thankfully, it looked a lot less disturbing once it was mixed with macaroni and poured in the loaf pan.

Overall, preparation was really easy. It does need to “bake” for an awfully long time, presumably since it is unnecessarily liquid. (Really, 1 cup of milk and 1 egg should be enough.)

But out it came eventually! Removal from the pan wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped, since a few corners decided to stick. However, that gave me a chance to work on puzzle-building skills while we broiled tomato halves in the oven with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

Garnished with the extra parsley and a few tomatoes, it actually looked pretty elegant. For a baked macaroni loaf, at least.

No surprise, this was basically a macaroni casserole with bits of green pepper in it. That meant the kids enjoyed it. There was some sort of subtle weirdness to the flavor, though. We couldn’t pin down whether it was from the egg, the parsley, or the green pepper, or possibly a bit of each. None of these is a typical mac-n-cheese ingredient, with good reason.

I probably won’t make this specific recipe again. The one nice thing about this was that it used a loaf pan, creating far fewer leftovers than a typical casserole dish — but that didn’t make up for the meh flavor, or the ridiculous “meatless meat loaf” advertising angle. This is absolutely nothing like a meatloaf.

White House Milk factory image from the Milwaukee Public Library. “Meatless” meat loaf recipe courtesy of Retrospace.



  1. “For some reason, a fair number of retro recipes go through a stage where they look like barf”: I LOL’d! And of course, many of them never get *beyond* that stage. Pie-Plate Salad, I’m lookin’ at you.

  2. I thought the green pepper chunks were rather intrusive. I didn’t mind the faintly vegetative flavor they gave the dish, but the hard bits of pepper really interrupted the texture.

  3. Dude, I am SO making this tonight. Sans green pepper, of course (ick).

  4. If you cut down the liquid sounds like a great candidate for making macaroni & cheese balls for breading and frying. Most of the ones I’ve had at parties don’t taste of anything in particular.

  5. Back in the day they used coal as fuel, so yeah it looked like that. But most of it fell out of the sky as a fine particulate, which really means it doesn’t pollute the air as much as many other fuels. Of course the waterways full of coal ash… that’s a different story.

    • Having lived near a coal-fired power plant (ten years ago, not sixty), I would definitely count the particulate as pollution — it would deposit a fine layer of black powder all over our kitchen when windows were left open. The possibility for coal ash to fall into milk while it was being canned is unappealing at best, and so seeing a lot of black smoke in that picture just makes me shudder.

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