When I saw this picture in Good Housekeeping's Cooking for the Family (a magazine-ish collection copyright 1971), I saw its immediate appeal, even though I'm not a meatloaf person:
People really did love ring molds for a while, but main dish versions usually consist of rice or noodle ring molds filled with some kind of sauce to use as a topping. This is different-- a ring of meat loaf stuffed with a side of fries. It's very cute and I can see the family appeal. Even if the fries are crispy immediately after the thing is put together, though, they will probably be soggy within seconds.
I wondered whether the recipe did anything special to try to keep the fries crispy:
Not really; they're just baked and dumped into the ring as a last step. The serving is really cute, but the looks take precedence over the fries being appetizing.
I wasn't sure that this recipe on its own was worth a post, but as I hunted around for other ideas, I came across another example, this time from Good Housekeeping's Clock-Watchers' Cook Book (also magazine-ish, copyright 1967):
This seems to make even less intuitive sense. Meatloaf and fries seem like a good family meal, but throwing fries in with peas and soupy chicken seems less like a great idea. Then I looked at the recipe:
Yes, the fries are cooked in a covered pan with the soup, chicken, and peas until "fork-tender"! The sogginess isn't a bug. It's a feature! I hope the people who made this recipe could convince themselves that they really wanted fork-tender fries.