Tuna salad here, tuna salad there – so many great memories, plus the stuff is good for you, too. Let me ask – how many foods that you really enjoy are good for you? That’s right – not many, but ole Charlie Tuna, well, he (or she) can bring it on.
Nutritionists tell us tuna fish is loaded with iron and potassium as well as those wonderful omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, and vitamin B12, but I didn’t know that as an eight-year-old at granny’s house, when she always prepared my two favorites for lunch – tuna salad and cherry jell-o. It was a special treat.
My next tuna salad encounter that I distinctly remember was the sandwich version served in the school lounge at Meridian Community College. At my house (and granny’s) tuna salad was served with crackers so this was new territory for me – tuna salad sandwich. Hmm, it was a great discovery.
Along my tuna salad journey was the first time I introduced it to the husband. He went along with it (we were newlyweds). When the two sons arrived, and were old enough, I introduced them as well. We were just one happy-tuna-salad-family, until it happened.
You see it all came about innocently enough – the husband’s idea. Because he had been a tuna salad virgin, of sorts (his momma’s specialty was fried chicken); he devised a plan to make the stuff tastier. Before I knew it, he had cranked up the blender and added tuna, eggs, pickles, and mayo. His strategy was to put the machine on turbo and let her rip. The results were, well – have you ever drank liquid tuna salad?
I shiver to remember, but we didn’t (or I didn’t give up) – next I added high dollar mayo, homemade bread-and-butter pickles, and chipped the eggs beyond belief in order to make a perfect, eatable blend of an amazing specimen of tuna salad. Yes, I was ready.
This was at a time when cost-cutting-efficiency was on my mind. After carefully analyzing the servings capacity of one can of tuna, with three added (finely chopped) eggs, one moderate tablespoon size of mayo (I still used the high-dollar stuff – I mean I wasn’t miserly), and 2 ? medium-size bread-and-butter pickles, one could estimate 7 ? sandwiches by carefully spreading ample, but not overly indulgent, amounts of tuna salad to each sandwich. It all made sense, until the phone call.
It was about 12:30, shortly after noon, when the husband called. He seemed cheerful – just an ordinary “check-in call.” You know -- how is your day, the usual stuff. Then right before he said goodbye, he asked. “Oh, what was my sandwich today? I think it smelled a little like tuna salad?”
Uh-oh – must have miscalculated the number of sandwiches. Earlier, I had thought, while slapping the salad on the bread, it seemed a little light. Yikes.
The years passed and we moved along with the times. Slowly, tuna salad and crackers changed to tuna salad sandwiches, but in the millennium, tomato stuffed with tuna salad became the “new thing.” Oh, how we have stuffed those tomatoes! After the sandwich that only smelled-a-little-like-tuna, the husband had sworn off the stuff for a while, but I do believe he has come back to the tuna-flock, so to speak. He does enjoy the stuffed ones as long as there is ample salad in each one.
Because I am the trendy-type or something like that, I do keep a check on the latest news, tidbits, rumors, or even gossip, when it comes to new tuna salad ideas. Recently I noted a recipe that added dill weed and curry to the mixture. There was another one with honey mustard and chopped onion added. It occurred to me by adding four additional ingredients; perhaps the serving numbers could be increased? But, not to worry, I can always use a larger tomato. That’s right.
Once upon a tuna salad – I’m ready for the next phase. It’s an exciting time traveling the tuna expressway of salad making. Maybe I will see you along the way.
Anne McKee is a writer and storyteller. See her website: www.annemckee.net