Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat mixed with other ingredients, formed into a loaf shape, then baked or smoked. The loaf shape is formed by either cooking it in a loaf pan, or forming it by hand on a flat baking pan. Meatloaf is usually made from ground beef, although lamb, pork, veal, venison, and poultry are also used.
The meatloaf has European origins; meatloaf of minced meat was mentioned in the famous Roman cookery collection Apicius as early as the 5th century. Meatloaf is a traditional German and Belgian dish, and it is a cousin to the Dutch meatball. American meatloaf has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since Colonial times. However, meatloaf in the contemporary American sense did not appear in cookbooks until the late 19th century.