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August 24, 2011

Deviled String Beans And Tuna – Tom’s Tuna Favorite On The Mid-Century Menu

By RetroRuth

This is the reason that Tom and I make crazy vintage recipes. Because everyone once in a while, a horrible, disgusting-looking recipe will be made. And it will turn out well.

Like this one: Deviled String Beans and Tuna, which was submitted by Amy. Congratulations, Amy on sending in Tom’s favorite!

Ahhh…American Home Kitchens. You never let us down!

Amy writes:

I’ve attached a recipe for Deviled String Beans and Tuna from the September 1958 issue of The American Home.

Thank you!

Okay, okay. I know what you are thinking. “How is that disgusting pile of gray-black entrails even edible, let alone something that Tom enjoyed eating??” Well, thanks to Tom’s iron stomach, and the magic of color-photography, I am able to tame this scary thing and make it – dare I even say it? – delicious.

Well, maybe not delicious.

But good. I can make it good.



It occurred to me as I set out the ingredients (as I am sure it has already occurred to most of you) that this is basically green bean casserole, minus mushrooms and plus tuna and horseradish. Which wasn’t good news for me, since I detest green been casserole…in fact, I detest canned green beans in any form. But Tom was excited. For some reason, whenever we make something I really hate, he gets all excited.

Go figure.


But, I soldiered on, even thought I was convinced I would hate this. That is how dedicated I am. How far above reproach.

How completely crazy.



Maybe color photography isn’t the best thing for this dish.


I remembered cackling with glee at this point.

“Look at how disgusting this looks! Everyone is going to hate this!”

Which I guess means that I get excited when something we make is really going to gross you guys out.

Go figure.


But it ended up redeeming itself slightly. Maybe it was the casserole dish, or our camera lens, or maybe it was the two-inch-thick layer of fried onions covering up the casseroles interior.

Either way, it was presentable again.


And crispy. Very, very crispy.


Just keep thinking, “Green bean casserole. Green bean casserole.”

I have no idea what Tom was thinking by this point. It didn’t smell the greatest.


IMG_5631 IMG_5636

Down the hatch.




Slightly concerned.


Back to deciding.


“It’s good. It tastes like spicy green bean casserole.”

But I didn’t believe him.  It was the moment I had been dreading. I scooped up a forkful, and brought it slowly to my curled-back lips. Would it be good, like Tom said, or was he lying to get me back for all of the times I had served him a gag-inducing mid-century meal? I wouldn’t put it past him.

I popped the fork in my mouth, ready to bolt for the sink. Then I started chewing. And was surprised when I kept chewing. I was even more surprised when I went back for another bite.

Holy crap, it WAS good!

“See,” Tom said, smugly. “I told you it was good. In fact, I think I am picking this one for my favorite.”

The Verdict: Good! Surprisingly! What I normally dislike about green bean casserole, it’s blandness and canned bean taste, was kicked out the door by the tablespoon of horseradish. After baking the heat the of horseradish mellowed out to be a nice compliment to the fried onions. You could barely taste the tuna or the egg, what hit you most was the spicy and creamy white sauce. In fact, the only reason that this dish did not nudge Disneyland Tuna Burgers out of the “Best” Slot was because it was rich. Really rich. So rich you didn’t want to go back for seconds. But, since that is my only complaint, I am totally happy with this one, and think it deserves the title as “Tom’s Favorite Tuna Recipe”!

Well, guys, that’s it for our contest! Thanks to everyone who entered and everyone who came back again and again to read the tasting of the horrible recipes!  And for those of you who are sad to see the tuna-fun end, don’t worry. I have a few tuna jewels from our taste-testing still to come, so if you haven’t seen your recipe yet, don’t fret! It’s on the way!

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8 Responses to Deviled String Beans And Tuna – Tom’s Tuna Favorite On The Mid-Century Menu

  1. ae Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I’m going to have to copy this one down! It really does sound good. Doesn’t look good, but sounds good.

  2. Betty Crafter Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I have to agree with ae – the pictures of this recipe were enough to make me gag, but I’m glad it turned out tasty in the end!

  3. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I feel bad for all of the green bean casseroles that I’ve served through the years. I’ve never considered that people might think they look or taste gross. Eep. Better put some horseradish on the table just in case next time! 🙂

  4. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I have to admit I do like green bean casseroles, but I HATE the canned beans. I only ever use the frozen green beans. And I put soy sauce in mine too.

    I think I will have to try this sometime. YAY!!! for a recipe that finally tastes good!

  5. Andrea Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I hate green beans in general, so this is probably not the recipe for me, LOL. However, I must say that I am very surprised it turned into something edible, as those pictures may or may not haunt my nightmares, LOL.

  6. SeaneenBrennan Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Like the protein addition – makes it a meal. I now have a recipe for all the string beans I’m harvesting from my garden – just precook them to use in the recipe! Wonder if canned Salmon instead of Tuna would pass the taste test and add some color??

  7. RetroRuth Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    ae – Yeah, it didn’t look the best, but does green bean casserole EVER look good? 🙂

    Betty – I know what you mean!

    Eartha – I know plenty of people who like them just fine the way they are. No need to feel guilty…but a little horseradish never hurt! 🙂

    Sara – Soy sauce on green beans, huh?? I must try this!

    Andrea – It was pretty surprising for me that it tasted good, I have to tell you!

    Seaneen – It did make a good meal! Fresh string beans would probably be even better and I don’t see why you couldn’t use canned salmon. In the end, I barely tasted the tuna at all!

  8. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I should clarify, soy sauce IN the green bean casserole! 🙂

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