What does It Mean to Like "Meat and Potatoes"?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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It is not unusual for people to hear someone referred to as being a “meat and potatoes” type of person. In most cases, this designation is meant to describe certain character traits possessed by the individual under consideration, and it may be used as a compliment or an insult, depending on how the individual perceives these particular traits. The term normally refers to something that is a fundamental or basic component in some type of environment or setting. Considered to be essential, meat and potatoes lays a solid foundation that can be built upon or enhanced in some manner. The wide use of this term has its basis in the basic all American meal.

Since meat and potatoes represent a hearty dish that forms the nucleus of a nutritional meal, liking them is often identified with being solid, reliable, and dependable in times of adversity. Simplistic in their approach to life and free of pretensions, these people are usually considered honest and very unlikely to play games with other peoples emotions or time.

A true meat and potato meal is much the same. Offering a basic presentation and an all American meal that is filling and nutritious, a serving of meat and helps to meet the immediate need and tends to pave the way for other things to come. Generally, the basic meal will provide energy for the remainder of the day as well as satisfying the individual’s need for food.


There are a number of meat and potatoes recipes used widely in the United States and around the world. Some are as simple as broiling or baking some type of red meat or pork and serving it with mashed or fried potatoes. Other meals include variations on the so-called Hobo dinner, which is a baked dish that is created by slicing potatoes, placing them in an oblong casserole dish, and topping them with hamburger patties. The assembled Hobo dinner is placed into the oven and allowed to cook until the potatoes are tender and the meat is cooked to order.

Like the actual food, anyone who enjoys meat and potatoes and considers this combination to be the foundation for the perfect lunch or dinner is likely to be perceived as being straightforward and honest. While relatively simple on the surface, they provide much of the essentials of living, whether the reference is to the food or to someone who consumes them on a regular basis.


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Post 3
I have heard that some people practice a kind of meat and potatoes Catholicism. I guess this means that they practice out of traditional and ritual but do not worry themselves with the broader spiritual questions raised by having a faith.

I think my dad was this kind of Catholic. He probably made it to mass once a month. He always tried to do right but he also drank and smoked and swore. He was a real person but also, to his mind, a strong Catholic. His faith was a real part of his life even if it did not inform all of the details.

Post 2

My mom was definitely a meat and potatoes kind of cook. It seems like very night for dinner we were having some kind of meat mixed with some kind of potatoes. On Monday it was roast and mashed potatoes. On Tuesday it was roast chicken and potatoes. On Wednesday it was some kind of hash brown casserole. It could be kind of bland but it did the job. She had a hungry husband and three little boys who all had giant appetites.

Post 1

When I hear that someone is meat and potatoes I usually associate it with the same meaning as salt of the earth. These are down home, hard working, modest and reliable people. They may not be flashy but it is on their back that the world keeps spinning. For this reason I don't think it is insulting at all to be called meat and potatoes. At the right place and the right time it can be one of the highest compliments.

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