A 1940s recipe shaped by rationing.
A variation using ham and veal appeared in the Nov. 1, 1940 edition of the San Jose News. That version also used cranberry juice in the mix, then topped the loaf with cranberry sauce.
The recipe started to show up with some frequency in 1941 and 1942, however, and the variations looked more like this, with a progressively higher cranberry quotient, no doubt to make the most of rations.
Cranberry Meat Loaf
2 lbs. lean ground round or chuck
1 egg, well beaten
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1-lb. can whole cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp. cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup coarsely broken pecans
Blend meat with egg, onion, salt, Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 can whole cranberry sauce. Blend well and pat mixture on waxed paper into an oblong 3/4″ thick. Blend remaining cranberry sauce with cranberry juice and set aside for glaze. Combine all stuffing ingredients and shape them into a roll to fit the shorter side of the oblong. Roll the meat around the stuffing to completely cover it.
Place meat in a greased shallow baking pan. Spoon some of the glazed cranberry mixture over the loaf. Bake at 375 for one hour, spooning glaze over the meat every 15 minutes. Serve hot with rice. Makes 6 servings.