Friday, May 29, 2009
Time once again for a visit from my swell pal, Donatello. No, that's not him above. That's Charlie The Tuna, noted suicidal maniac. What does Charlie have to do with Donatello? Read on.
(If you missed Donatello's previous appearances, you shouldn't have. Find them HERE and HERE.)
Before we get to the meat of the matter, however, it's possible you're wondering why I give Donatello's stuff so much space. I mean, this is MY blog, so you would expect to find MY stuff when you come here. However, I get a great kick out of Donatello, so I assume you will also. And he doesn't have a blog of his own. He should, of course, but so long as he doesn't, and I can get away with using his stuff on those days when I'm feeling too lazy to write anything decent of my own, why shouldn't I share his wisdom with the world? Also, in many ways, I consider him a superior writer.
(Let's not get all kissy-ass in the comments, OK? I know I'm pretty good, otherwise you wouldn't keep coming back. That's enough for my ego - for now.)
Necessary background information concerning what follows: Donatello had written to me and, at the tail end of his missive, he said he was signing off because he had to go make a batch of Fuck-The-Man Tuna Salad. You would have written back and said, "OK, just what in hell is Fuck-The-Man Tuna Salad?" So, that's what I did, and his reply follows.
Anyone can tell from my current girth that I like to eat. I'm also not very picky. I like fine Belgian chocolates. I also am rather fond of Circus Peanuts. A cup of fresh-ground Hawaiian Kona hits the spot. Under the right circumstances, so does Taster's Choice. Stone Brewery Ale, yum. Ice-cold PBR on the beach, also yum. I think we're more or less on the same page with this.
[Jim's note: We are, very.]
In fact, the list of things I haven't liked is pretty small. So far, that would include: sea urchins, tripe, and, believe it or not, cotton candy... yuk. I'm always ready to try something new.
I'm sure you remember that I like to cook. On the other hand, I don't like to kill myself in the kitchen. While I'm ready to do what it takes to make just about anything, I favor dishes that look and taste like they were a lot more work than they really were. Everyone needs a copy of The Joy of Cooking. My number two favorite, though, is the I Hate To Cook Book by Peg Bracken. Well worth the investment, if you can find it.
The point is, my cooking-ethic is inspired by my Nana mostly, and Peg Bracken, one of her favorites. You know, lots of recipes that include a can of cream-of-mushroom, or an envelope of onion soup, or ketchup or whatever. 50s era comfort-food. A small digression; do with this information what you will:
1) The secret ingredient is probably lemon juice. Unless it isn't.
2) If the secret ingredient is not lemon juice, it is probably anchovy paste.
So, back to the tuna. I'm sure you've noticed, along with the decreasing quality of, well... just about everything, the decreasing quantity of just about everything. 56 oz. "half-gallons" of ice cream, exciting new packaging that attempts to hide the fact that there are now only 10 oz. of horseradish instead of 12, Lord-only-knows how much coffee in what once was a standard one-pound can etc. And now a standard 6 oz. can of tuna is a 5 oz. can. Oy.
Anyway, having had enough, and having been raised in part by my Depression-Era grandmother, and having enjoyed Abbie Hoffman's humor, I've started making my very own Fuck-The-Man Tuna Salad. Honestly, none of the ideas are particularly original. Sub shops routinely make tuna this way. But it's cheap. And tastes good. And did I mention it's cheap? So, the recipe:
Fuck-The-Man Tuna Salad
5 oz. can chunk light tuna, undrained. The cheaper and fishier the better. Don't use white, you need the fish juice.
1/2 to 1 c. dill pickle juice.
1 c. mayonnaise.
If you like "stuff" in your tuna salad, 1 c. or so of chopped "stuff": celery, onions, chopped dill pickle or what have you.
2 c. plain bread crumbs.
Dump the tuna, liquid and all, into a bowl. Mash it fine.
Add pickle juice, mayo, and any "stuff".
Mix well, it will be pretty soupy.
Add about half the bread crumbs, mix.
Add the rest of the crumbs, mix.
SUPER IMPORTANT STEP: Let it sit, refrigerated of course, for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. This lets the bread crumbs soften and soak up all the flavor.
Before you eat it, check the consistency. If the bread crumbs have thickened too much, add a little more mayo or pickle juice 'til it's how you like it.
This makes approximately 1 quart of tuna salad and costs about $1.50. It also tastes good... a lot like sub-shop tuna, for the obvious reason. The extra fishiness of the light tuna gets soaked into the crumbs so you really can't tell that it's not white tuna. Spreads well, too. The only real disadvantage is that you have to make it ahead.
Bon appetit, and Fuck The Man! Enjoy.
Your swell pal,
Now, I ask you: Where else can you get such a wonderful dissertation concerning the current hideous state of affairs vis-a-vis packaging, combined with great book recommendations and a dandy recipe for cheap sandwiches?
Only here, my friend. Only here.
Soon, with more better stuff.