Friday, May 29, 2009

Sorry, Charlie!

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.


Jim -

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.


endangered coffee said...

You're a great blogger with a strong bench. I think you could probably take the Cavaliers in a seven-game series.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Sul, if you ever host a "cheap off" recipe contest, could ya let me know? (And my entry WON'T be tuna.) eww

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, you are too funny!!!! And your friends obviously share your amazing gift!!!! I like the tuna recipe as well...boy, you blog a good bargain!!! Hurrah! "More please," said Oliver...Have a fantastic weekend...Enjoy your beer ;-)~Janine

Sniffles and Smiles said...

P.S. I absolutely LOVE of my favorite "literaries," and have been known to quote him repeatedly...especially when responding to my teen's outrageous demands..."Sorry, Charley!" quoth I. ~Janine

Michelle H. said...

I'd write something kissy-ass, but I not fond off tuna. I've got to go to the bathroom now.

Jeni said...

Hmmm. A couple things here. One is that I did buy "The Joy of Cooking" and gave it to my older daughter one year for Christmas. Apparently it didn't appeal to her as it never left my house -still here, and sadly, one of many cookbooks I own but also this is one I rarely use too. Reason: no pictures and I do love pictures in my cookbooks.
Having worked in restaurants for numerous years -even cooking but mostly either waitressing or management -we always drained the tuna -Very. Well. Drained. As a matter of fact, but yes, we also always used the white chunk tuna whereas I ALWAYS buy the least expensive brand or better brand-name tuna if it is on sale at a really, really good price. Sometimes I even drain the tuna a little bit too but not always. But for one can of tuna, I've never added breadcrumbs -never thought of that -and sure never put as much as a whole cup of chopped onions and/or celery and/or chopped pickle or relish in my tuna salad with only 1 can of tuna. But, if it stretches that one can that far you can bet your bottom dollar that's how I'll be making tuna salad from now on. Plus, if I add celery, onion and relish or chopped pickles, it is a sure bet my daughter here won't be raiding my tuna salad supply as she abhors onions, doesn't like cold chopped veggies in anything either. So it will be mine, all MINE! (Fianlly, something all to myself, huh?)
But the line that intrigued me most was the comment about liking to cook only things easy but that look like one has slaved over for hours! So good to meet another like myself in the kitchen. I always say I must be the original marshmellow and rice krispies treats mom because I love saying "I slaved all day of that" while wiping my brow, knowing I have spent the most minimal amount of time cooking that is humanly possible.
Yes, I tend to be a lazy-ass b***h!
Thanks for an educational morning with a new recipe -all for me!

Marian Dean said...

Well, usually I am all for nourishing cheap recipes, but I got half way through this and I had to go and throw up!!!! Yuck.
Don't like Tuna even the very best, most expensive stuff from Harrods!! I am NOT coming to your house for Dinner if this is the sort of muck you give your guests!!!
Love Granny

Stu said...

That tuna recipe is great - I'm gonna try it, but I'm adding another step, baking in the toaster oven for 20 minutes - FTM!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Love everything about this recipe but the title. (Sorry, Charlie) :) Those of us on fixed income need to stretch our budgets at every opportunity, and as I like tuna -- even though the price of edible canned tuna has gone out the roof -- this one will get a try. Thanks for sharing.

Carolina said...

This must be one seriously twisted mind, mentioning both 'The Joy of Cooking' and 'I Hate Too Cook' as his favourite books. Hmmm.
I will go forth and read the other posts he featured in. Curious stuff.

Hilary said...

I like tuna but geesh that much mayo will kill you. Tis a fine line between tuna with good taste and tuna that tastes good. Sorry Charlie. ;)
Seems your word verification likes a different fish.. "perchy."

Chris said...

I am a major fan of tuna, so I have to give this one a try. Suldog, one never knows what one will find when he/she stops by this place. Kudos.

Donatello said...

Greetings Suldoggers!

Jeni - I can't say I'd recommend using an entire cup of onions, or relish at all. Myself, I use about 3/4 c. chopped dill pickle and 1/4 c. onion. It's your sandwich, though.

Granny - The word "nourishing" is nowhere used in this post. This is an evil, tuna-flavored, bread-and-fat concoction. Company fare this ain't. If you like the stuff some American sub-shops pass off as tuna, this is close. If you hate tuna, well... there it is.

Pat - you could call it Death By Mayonnaise if you prefer.

Hilary - See Above. This much mayonnaise will kill you. Of course, sooner or later something will...why not mayo? You take a reasonably healthy piece of fish and turn it into a high-fat, high-carb, but pretty tasty sandwich spread. It's the American way.

I had no idea people were so passionately fer/agin tuna. Wow.

Expat From Hell said...

Love this post, and the recipe. I may make a little extra tonight. To go with the sandwich and the MGD. Maybe Kobe Bryant will read this today, and slam some down before game time.

Thanks for the pinch-it. It was a walk-on home run, friend.


Suldog said...

I'd like to thank Donatello for answering the comments.

Also, I know that some of my readers have a serious aversion to mayo (Michelle, I'm talking to YOU!) and I'm not overly fond of the stuff, either, but it does make sub-shop tuna what it is, so...

Ananda girl said...

I like your friend Donatello. Love the name of that dish and intend to make some today! Thanks for sharing it.

Buck said...

What endangered coffee said: strong bench. To say the least.Is it something in the New England water that produces such great writers... with a better-than-your-average-bear sense of humor? Enquiring Minds wanna know!

Jazz said...

Only here indeed.

I think Donatello should guest post more often. You know, just so you can relax a bit and all.

Ragtop Day said...

My step-mother gave me and my step-sister's Peg Bracken's book for Christmas many years ago, right about the time I was setting up my first apartment. Wait here while I go get it for reference.

OK, I'm back.

The book is hilariously written. I even have some of the pages dog-eared and recipes circled. But the recipes do harken back to an earlier time, when lard and butter were integral ingredients in nearly every meal. I can practically feel my arteries harden as I flip through the book.

Still, I'd like to hear more from Donatello!

Karen said...

For some strange reason this sounds like I want some RIGHT NOW! Do you suppose this is what I got at the Woolworth's counter so many years ago? My tuna salad always turns out too runny. Next time I'm going to add some breadcrumbs. Thanks, Donatello!

GreenJello said...

I hate anything seafood, but am almost convinced to make this.

Chris said...

Suldog, thank for the honor. To thought of in the same, well, "thought breath" is the idea but there's no word for it, as Magazine Man and the Dr. Pepper chick is quite humbling. I will continue to strive to be worthy.



Lisa Johnson said...

I've always wondered why Charlie The Tuna was so ready to die, so that we could make a sandwich out of him. He's clearly in need of therapy!

Anyway, this is a great way to stretch a can of tuna. The whole smaller portions thing is so annoying. Do companies really think we don't notice?

CSD Faux Finishing said...

Awesome. We have lazy man's dinner at least once a week (better known as anything we can scrounge up in the cabinets because we forgot to go grocery shopping, generally with mixed reaction -- like the night we did Kung Pow Sombrero for example) but the stuff in this we pretty much always seem to have in the house. So doing this next lazy dinner night. Love it!

cube said...

This recipe is either really good or really crappy, but I won't know until I try it. I do love subshop tuna AND saving money.

BTW found you via Ananda girl's blog.

Woman in a Window said...

I'm thinking your friend has tricked you into rubbing mushy bread on bread. Not so sure that's so yummy but then I just ate a pickle wrapped in bologne. True story. What do I know?

Debbie said...

Yes, I do enjoy a recipe with a little something "extra".

Rosaria Williams said...

You always deliver,ugh, serve up a full meal here. I think having guests is a good thing too.

MVD said...

Hmmm - Never had much of a mayonnaise fetish, nor the jones for sub shop tuna. Personally, I'd rather make a sandwich with the drained white stuff, and wash it down with a Parliament. Seems like the same degree of bodily damage.

T said...

I haven't posted in quite awhile, but I do read often Suldog, Just been real busy, I know poor excuse, but it is my excuse!

Just the thought of not using white tuna, really made me not want to try this, and that is A LOT of Mayo, but, I do think I will give this a try. Otherwise I will always wonder..

Theresa said...

You obviously hang with the right people. Thought provoking and yet informational at the same time. Where else except at Suldog's can you get that kind of experience. Thanks for sharing. By the way, I'm having the Fuck-Me-I'm-Lazy Cup O' Noodles right now. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Mashed undrained Tuna...Yuk! With breadcrumbs-double yuk! Sorry, but SALAD has green things in it or it aint salad. But you and your friend are seriously don't really eat this muck do you?
I'm off downstairs to re-heat the Daube and fry the polenta for supper.

Chris Stone said...

lol, interesting recipe! and of course the only reason i'm not making it right now is I'm a veg. ;)

Donatello said...

Ragtop - Lard and butter aren't an integral part of nearly every meal ?!? Why, buttered lard makes a fine meal in and of itself.

Moannie - Not only do we actually eat this muck, many folks pay a lot more than $1.50/quart for the privilege.

Eleonora Baldwin said...

...what's a sub-shop? In Italy tuna is canned in olive oil...

This actually sounds very very good, and spreadable you say... huh. Interesting base for sandwiches. I'm getting all sorts of wild, sexy ideas by thinking of the possible flavor combos. So thanks Donatello, and thanks Suldog for the great joint post, recipe and smiles.


Lynn said...

Made a cheese fondue casserole from Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Book just last week. Love those retro cookbook recommendations.

George said...

Yes! That's exactly what I needed! A he-man recipe that will provide nourishment with no-fuss and it costs practically nothing! Good lookin' out, Jim and Donatello.

geewits said...

Whoa! I just popped in her via Magazine Man and see that you have my buddy Jazz on your list. Small world. And that tuna sounds really hideous. Do not eat that.

Janet said...

My 5-year-old and I like capers in our tuna salad. Of course, that eliminates the "cheap" factor.

Anonymous said...

With liver quivering due to unadulterated delight I convey my hearty agreement to whatever I should be agreeing with via my generally worthless-to-all comment in regards to the blog posting I arrived at while seeking the ins-and-outs of the decline of tuna quality of the tuna-type purchasable inside small metal cans.