1950 Life Magazine Meatloaf

We’re seven days into the 12 Days of Oscar, and today’s film is a personal favorite of mine.  The 1985 movie Back to the Future was nominated for four Oscars: Best Music- Original Song, Best Writing- Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Best Sound, and Best Effects- Sound Effects Editing.  Back to the Future won the Oscar for Best Effects, and went on to be quoted in Ronald Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union Address.  If you haven’t seen it already (what are you waiting for?!), Back to the Future stars Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, who travels back in time to 1955 in a DeLorean and must repair the ensuing damage this causes to history with the help of Doc Martin (Christopher Lloyd).

There are so many memorable moments in this film, and among them is a scene where Marty has dinner in 1955 with his mother, Lorraine (Lea Thompson), and her family.  Of course they don’t know that he’s come from the future and so when Marty comments that he’s seen an episode of Honeymooners as a rerun, everyone pauses from eating their meatloaf.

It’s not impossible that any family eating meatloaf in 1955 was eating meatloaf made from a 1950 Life magazine recipe.  When I found this recipe, it became my go-to meatloaf recipe.  Typically I don’t make a whole meatloaf, despite owning a meatloaf pan, and instead make individual portions because they cook a little more quickly and I can freeze extras for another day.  Then, I make this and remember how awesome it is when you put a leftover slice into a skillet to get both sides a little crispy before you make it into a sandwich.

1950 life magazine meatloaf

1950 Life Magazine Meatloaf


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 1/4 C. diced yellow onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C. bread crumbs
  • 2 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 C. ketchup, divided


Preheat 300 degrees.

Put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl except for the ketchup.

Using clean hands (or a wooden spoon if you must), combine the ingredients, then add 3/4 C. of the ketchup and combine thoroughly.

Place the mixture into a meatloaf pan (a regular loaf pan is fine as well, but the fat won’t drain out of the meatloaf so keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven).

Spread the remaining ketchup over the meatloaf.

Bake for 1 hour.

Source: MacGregor Ale House, NC (who claim this is the recipe from 1950 Life magazine, which I was unable to confirm)


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