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Mayhaw Man

Tuna Fish Sandwiches!

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Julia Reed has an excellent piece in today's New York Times concerning the lowly tuna fish sandwich. She describes the kind of tuna fish she grew up eating and not suprisingly it is exactly like the stuff I ate. I honestly thought that water packed tuna, mayo, onion, celery, and sweet pickles (all in the correct "Mom made" proportions, of course) was the way that everybody ate the stuff.

Anyway, I now know better and so, apparently, does Julia Reed. I eat tuna salad sandwiches about once a week or so for a quick afternoon snack when I get home from work and I was wondering if any of you urbane gourmets would admit to doing the same? :wink::laugh:

And while we're at it- I am a Bumblebee packed in water-large chunk kinda guy. What kind of tuna do you buy and what kind of bread do you eat it on? What goes into your tuna fish spread? There are so many fascinating things to talk about concerning lowly tuna fish. Who knew? :laugh:

Incidentally, she also mentions Southern Sideboards, The Jackson, MS Junior League Cookbook. THis book, along with the Cotton Country Collection from Monroe, LA are the two finest (imo) examples of the genre.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I, too, eat tuna sandwiches about once a week, and what I put into them depends entirely on my mood. Sometimes, I put nothing. Just a little mustard on the bread. Sometimes bell peppers and onions. Sometimes olives. Sometimes capers, green onions, dill pickles. I prefer Italian tuna in olive oil. But what I grew up on was tuna packed in water, with chopped onions, sweet relish, and Miracle Whip on Roman Meal bread. I never even tasted the "white stuff" (that my grandmother disparagingly referred to as "that ol' cotton bread") until I ate lunch at a neighbor's house when I was about ten. I still remember the sensation of having it dissolve into a glutinous mass that stuck to the roof of my mouth. I looked at my playmate, wondering if she was having the same problem. I was mystified that if she were, she gave no hint. So I plowed on.

PS: And as for the southern Junior League cookbooks, in addition to those you mentioned, I really treasure two of the originals, and most famous: Charleston Receipts (1950) and River Roads (1959).


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'm a flaked tuna kinda girl myself. Made up with mayonaise or miracle whip (gasp), chopped green onions and celery salt. On plain white squishy bread. Cut diagonally of course :biggrin:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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If you can get access to it, absolutley nothing beats fresh-caught tuna. my uncle goes deep sea fishing and takes the leftovers and boils it to get that grey flakiness similar to a can and then prepares it in the standard way....mayo maybe some onion and celery. The difference in taste though is absolutely unbelievable. Nobody can stop eating it because it tastes so good and the bowl of it is picked clean in a day.

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I probably average a tuna sandwich per week.

My prefered version of tuna salad includes: oil packed tuna (I usually get Genova brand chunk yellowfin...Italian label but packed in Samoa I'm sure); dijon; Hellman's mayo (slightly less mayo than mustard); shot of chili sauce (Tabasco or Tapatio); and either capers or sweet pickles.

My salad is reasonably dry compared to what I grew up eating.


Edited by slbunge (log)

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Tuna mixed with mayo and relish, slice of granny smith apple, cheddar cheese, toasted on an english muffin. Mmmm... that was a favorite lunch when I was younger.

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I have eaten more tuna fish than is normal for a human. I even eat tuna straight out of the can.

As a kid we ate white chicken of the sea pack in water. I liked mine fairly dry with a little Hellman's and some diced carrot on Italian bread. Then, I discovered the joys of onion and tuna on an onion roll (tuna w/mayo and diced onion).

Nowadays, I've moved away from Albacore to the Gennova Yellow Fin. The ideal sandwich still starts with an onion roll. It's then schmeared with basil mayonnaise with topped with chunks of drained tuna. Maybe some slices of in-season tomatoes.

When grabbing a tuna sandwich at a deli, I like them on white toast with tomato and lettuce -- toasting prevents the bread from getting too soggy. Fresh rye bread is pretty good too.


Edited by bloviatrix (log)

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Chicken of the Sea, packed in water, (is it Chicken or is it Fish, duh!?) with some mayo, mustard, cracked pepper, onion, and relish, sometimes, hard boiled egg is also added. I like the sammiches but I also like it scooped on a plate, with a slice of, forgive me, Kraft cheese on top, and zapped in the micro wave just until the cheese starts to melt around the tuna salad. Eat with plenty of crakers or Fritos! mmm. I'm getting hungry! :smile:


Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

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Tuna packed in oil, a little mayo, a little mustard, minced garlic, scallions, a little lemon juice, and some salt & pepper. On toasted bread, of course.

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I usually like Starkist packed in water...my fave basic recipie from growing up involves 2 tsps regular mayo, a little bit of yellow mustard, a teaspoon of dill relish (not a big fan of the sweet pickles), and some crushed up onion soup mix. Mix it all together, let it sit for 15 minutes in the fridge (to let the flavours meld and the onion pieces rehydrate), and serve on sourdough.

My other, was one I got in my early 20's, while first living alone.... I got it out of the back of Sassy Magazine...from Kim & Thurston of Sonic Youth...its called Cat Tacos....

Its basically tuna, a bit of mayo, chopped tomatoes (deseeded), chopped red onions. You then start heating a tortilla in a pan (I always used pam), toss on some cheddar and jack cheese. after it starts to melt a bit, add about 2-4 Tbls (depending on the size of the tortilla) to one side of the tortilla, and let it the chees melt all the way and the tuna mixture warm up. Fold over to creat a taco, and voila...basically a tuna melt on a tortilla


Now fortified with extra Riboflavins!

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Funny. The pickles I usually use in tona salad are cornichons (tiny little sweet gherkins). When I went over to the thread there were lots of folks agreeing with Dave that pickles do not belong...then moving on to claim that cornichons are fine. Though for Dave it is black and white, for some it appears murky grey.

Another thought I had because of the activity on a poached egg thread...at times I've been known to have an open faced tuna sandwich with poached egg. Yum.


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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I always preferred oil packed to water packed tuna. It just had more taste. Some time ago we "discovered" Italian brands of olive oil packed tuna and have not gone back to the standard American brands since. Jarred tuna seems to taste better than canned tuna. Currently we're stocking 300 gram (10 1/2 oz.) jars of tuna that cost $6.99 a jar--Pesce Azzurro Cefalù (antica lavorazione artigiana, not to mention lavorato a mano in Sicilia). The interesting thing about the American brands is that the less tasty the variety or type of tuna, the higher the price. Chunk light always tasted better than solid white to me.

Hellman's mayo (forget about the miracle whip stuff) has always tasted sweet to me, but ever since a wedding weekend in Brittany where the food was not all that exceptional, but no one would think of serving boiled shrimp with anything by a vat of homemade mayonnaise, I've not been willing to suffer the store bought jarred stuff at home. Consequently, we rarely seem to have any mayonnaise at all in the fridge. This year I had a revelatory sandwich in Madrid of oil packed tuna, roasted red peppers (also canned) and anchovies--no mayonnaise. It was sensational. My tuna sandwich of yore would have been tuna, homemade mayonnaise, celery with minced onion or shallots. Nowadays it's more likely to be oil olive oil packed tuna with whatever roasted red peppers, anchovies, onions, shallots, scallions there are in the house with a spritz of lemon and a bit of olive oil.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Some time ago we "discovered" Italian brands of olive oil packed tuna and have not gone back to the standard American brands since.

me too, as far as the discovery goes (thanks, in part, to egullet). i almost always use italian tuna packed in oil, with a tiny bit of mayo, and various other things, depending on my mood and stock, on a baguette.

however, i sometimes use the regular ol' starkist, with mayo, celery, white bread, old-school style. it's a completely different animal and sates a different desire.


Edited by tommy (log)

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I like it both ways. :cool:

Water-packed, mayo, a teeny bit of mustard, salt, pepper, on rye bread, then grilled like a grilled cheese sandwich (the way my mom made 'em).

Oil-packed with maybe some garlic, salt, pepper, scallions, white beans and hard-boiled eggs, on some kind of nice bread slkinsey picks up.

MMMMMMMMM.

K


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Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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I prefer the olive oil packed tuna even with mayo, but I'd agree that the tuna-mayonnaise and the tuna--olive oil and lemon juice, are two different things and appeal to too different tastes. There's no problem with one person having both those tastes and expressing a different preference at different times. If my wife has made mayonnaise, my preference might be split. If I have to make the mayonnaise from scratch, I'd probably go with oil and lemon juice all the time. Ditto if only supermarket jarred mayo is available, but as usual, there's no accounting for personal taste. What's really interesting to me is when one's tastes change. If that bar offered mayonnaise as an option, I would have opted for it, but it didn't and I discovered a new taste.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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either starkist albacore in spring water, or olive-oil packed italian tuna. depends on what i'm using it for.

i don't make tuna salad sandwiches too often, but i do make a tuna, egg, potato salad when i'm going through a high-protein/high-fat phase.

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There's no problem with one person having both those tastes and expressing a different preference at different times.

shew.

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i like good albacore tuna packed in water mixed with mayo, mustard, onion, green pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper and a little salt. all on toasted wheat bread

:raz:


"look real nice...............wrapped up twice"

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Growing up it was always solid white tuna (didn't matter which brand, but chunk light was a no-no) in oil. I don't think water packed tuna existed when I was a kid (am I that old?). With Hellman's mayonnaise on Wonder bread. Nothing else, my mother just didn't do it. :sad: If she put some potato chips in the lunchbox that was heaven, because everyone knows that potato chips were made to add crunch to a tuna fish sandwich.

I still love tuna sandwhiches as simply as they come. Only now it's usually water-packed, on some sort of whole grain bread. Hellman's still rules. I'll very what I add to the tuna, but it MUST have chopped onions. Potato chips are still good. :smile:

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i like white in water with mayo, capers, fresh corn, celery, scallions, and toasted nuts pecans seem to hold up best with the mayo..cilantro is good too

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My current favorite is oil packed mixed with "olive salad" made by Jimtown Stores. The olive salad is chopped green and black olives, with garlic, lemon, pimento, capers and the like. If I have them, I add extra capers and roasted red peppers, along a little anchovy paste. It's pretty easy to made a similar olive salad, but Jimtown's sure is faster.

Like others here, I also like a more tradiitional mayo-based tuna salad, which I mix with chopped onion, celery, capers (sour cornichons if I don't have capers), celery salt and dill. If I'm looking to cut the fat, I substitute drained low fat plain yogurt for about half of the mayo. For that version, I like (gasp) Safeway's Tongol tuna packed in water.

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Funny. The pickles I usually use in tona salad are cornichons (tiny little sweet gherkins). When I went over to the thread there were lots of folks agreeing with Dave that pickles do not belong...then moving on to claim that cornichons are fine. Though for Dave it is black and white, for some it appears

Say yes to teeny tiny diced cornichons.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

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margaretmcarthur.com

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CLASSIC:

mix hellmans mayo with a lot of dried dill, dijon mustard, salt, and a drop of garlic powder.. let meld for a few minutes while you chop the celery.. grate the carrot.. chop the jalapeno.. then mix it all together..

MELAMPO STYLE:

can of yellow genova tuna in olive oil opened and spread on semolina bread, oil and all.. covered with sliced pickled cherry peppers, baby arugula, and fresh mozzarella..

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