Tag Archives: analysis

The Difference Between Meatloaf and Salisbury Steak

In my copious free time, I’ve been able to contemplate the deep issues of life, like, what is the difference between Meatloaf and Salisbury steak. Since this is an analysis, I’m posting it here in the Small Projects blog.

Meatloaf meal from Banquet. This is close to the cheapest meal in the freezer. It used to be less than a dollar, and can still be found at this writing for $1.49 at Walmart.
The Salisbury Steak meal is remarkably similar. At first glance, only the patty shape and total calories are different.
Here’s the meatloaf meal after cooking according to instructions. Doesn’t look half bad to me, although it’s a little skimpy on the apples.
In the cooked Salisbury Steak meal, the portions of corn and especially apples looked a little more generous. The patty, which is partly obscured by the mashed potatoes, is actually symetrical on all of the xyz axes. The texture and flavor of the “steak” is Texture more like actual meat, which I like. Not that the tender meatloaf is bad.
Meatloaf: micro 4 min, stir, micro 2-3 minutes.
I fully expected the instructions for the Salisbury to be identical, but they weren’t. It’s simply: Microwave 6 – 7½ minutes. This small change makes preparation much simpler. Just set the microwave, and come back whenever you want.
Banquet Meatloaf Meal Ingredients
Now to the nitty gritty; the ingredients. Banquet must have scienced the daylights out of the meatloaf to come up with something that is dirt cheap without tasting like actual dirt. One of the biggest things they did, I think, was avoid expensive vegetables. I think of corn as more of a grain than a vegetable. I think of potato more as starch than a vegetable. Apples are among the cheapest of fruit, and a lot of things are added like Propylene Glycol and Ethanol to make them taste just right.
Banquet Salisbury Steak Meal Ingredients
Banquet didn’t mess with it’s perfect combination of sides in the salisbury meal. The mashed potatoes, corn, and apples are identical in composition to those in the meatloaf meal. The difference is in the meat and gravy. I sheepishly admit, the Salisbury tasted a little better. I don’t know if this would have been the case if I had read the ingredients, first, as the Meatloaf, while far from natural, has far less chemicals than the Salisbury.
IngredientsMeatloafsalisbury steak
MASHED POTATOES
Rehydrated Potato Flakes and GranulesXX
MargarineXX
CreamXX
Soybean OilXX
Nonfat Dry MilkXX
SaltXX
SugarXX
Monosodium GlutamateXX
Xanthan GumXX
Guar GumXX
FlavoringXX
GRAVY
WaterXX
Seasoned Cooked BeefX
Modified Corn StarchX
Tomato PasteX
Wheat FlourX
OnionsX
Salt<2%<2%
Soybean Oil<2%
Sugar<2%<2%
Corn Syrup Solids<2%
Carmel Color<2%<2%
Monosodium Glutamate<2%<2%
Flavorings<2%<2%
Extract of Paprika<2%
Vegetable Juice Concentrates<2%
Disodium Inosinate & Disodium Guanylate<2%
Whey<2%
Autolyzed Yeast Extract<2%
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein<2%
Xanthan Gum<2%
Propylene Glycol<2% (WTF, antifreeze?)
MEATLOAF / SALISBURY STEAK PATTY
Mechanically Separated ChickenXX
PorkXX
BeefXX
WaterXX
Textured Soy Protein ConcentrateX<2%
Textured Vegetable ProteinX
BreaderXX
OnionsX
Dehydrated Onion<2%
KetchupX
Salt<2%<2%
Dried Whole Eggs<2%
Dried Whole Milk<2%
Carmel Color<2%<2%
Natural Flavorings<2%
Natural Flavor<2%
Flavoring<2%
Dextrose<2%
Citric Acid<2%<2%
Sodium Phosphate<2%
Soy Lecithin<2%
CINNAMON APPLE DESSERT
WaterXX
ApplesXX
SugarXX
BrownSugarXX
Modified Corn StarchXX
Natural FlavorXX
Acetylated MonoglyceridesXX
Modified Food StarchXX
SaltXX
CinnamonXX
Lemon Juice ConcntrateXX
Propylene GlycolXX (antifreeze again)
EthanolXX (motor fuel)
SpiceXX
Lemon OilXX
CORN
CornXX
WaterXX
SaltXX
SugarXX
I’m amazed by all the ingredients that have only chemical names. And I’ve omitted sub-ingredients that were in parenthees, like the contents of Breader or Seasoned Beef. The ingredients on the packages are different from what I saw listed online. Perhaps those sites were dated, or what I had was a “special” Walmart version?

So ultimately, I don’t have an answer to the titular issue. But examining the ingredients lists in detail has given me a new appreciation (or perhaps revulsion) for these meals.