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August 3, 2011

Voting Begins In Our “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna Contest”!

By RetroRuth

Let’s hear it once again for our finalists in our horrible mid-century Tuna Recipe Contest! Wow, guys, you went above and beyond for this one. Some terrible, terrible stuff appeared in my email inbox and then made their way onto our dinner table. It was crazy. It was hilarious. It was tons of fun.  And after all the (many!) tuna trials, Tom and I finally wash our hands of this whole fishy business, and we are ready for you guys to vote on the winner!

But before we get straight down to the voting, let’s have a little bit of a recap, shall we? (Check out this post, with bigger, better pictures on the Mid-Century Menu blog!)

Over a month ago, Tom and I dug in and starting making tuna recipes.  At first, we were just perplexed. Then, our confusion turned to horror.  The recipes we were trying were good. Was it possible? Could it be? Could Tom’s love of canned tuna make anything we made taste good? We didn’t know what to do. We were stumped.  And then along came…

Finalist #1 – Tuna Fruit Salad

Yes, that’s right. Tuna and fruit, thrown together at last into a salad that is coated with French dressing.

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Oh, and topped with a healthy-sized glob of mayo. *Gack*

Sent in by reader Karen, aka Miss RM, this weird entry didn’t disappoint in terms of flavor (it was horrible) or in Tom’s reflexive tasting face:

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Blargh! Check out the whole post (written by Tom, no less! It was really that bad!) here.

There was another lull in finalists as we stumbled across a couple unexpected good ones, but we were finally dumped off Tuna-Cloud-9 and into the lap of the next finalist:

Finalist #2 – Tuna Pizza

Tuna pizza??? Tuna pizza???

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Despite all my incredulous shrieking and Tom’s groans of horror, it is true. There is such a thing as tuna pizza. And it was submitted by two readers, if you can believe that! Sharon (Charm & Poise of Flickr fame) and the most excellent Bob (aka veg-o-matic) both sent in a scanned magazine ad for PET milk which contained this bizarre recipe. The “pizza” above has a canned biscuit crust, an indescribable sauce made of PET evaporated milk and parmesan cheese that is topped with ketchup (seriously!) and then canned tuna chunks.

Which makes sense in a way, because that combination of food is the only way you can get Tom to make this face:

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You can actually see the horrified surprise. And the pain. And why shouldn’t he be horrified? He just had to bolt a mouthful of ketchupy-biscuit-tuna. It was disgusting. I know. I practically gagged on my bite.

Check out the post in chilling detail here.

But once we reached our second finalist, we started stumbling on disgusting contenders left and right. It seemed like every recipe was bad. I must have subconsciously picked only the good ones at first, leaving the worst for last. But can you blame me?  What would you do if you were faced with the prospect of making a recipe like our next finalist…

Finalist #3 – Tuna Molded Vegetable Salad

Sometimes something isn’t scary right off the bat. Sometimes, just bits of it are scary, but not too scary, and you think you can handle it. But then a lot of little things add up quickly, and all of a sudden you realize you are staring into the beady eyes of a lobster made of jellied mayo and tuna and you can’t remember how everything went so wrong.

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Oh! Gives me the shivers!

This recipe was submitted by Heather (MonsterAteMy), and consisted of mayo, tuna, gelatin, and ungodly amount of lemon juice and undiluted (!) cream of chicken soup. And something that doesn’t sound that disgusting right off the bat showed its horrible tendencies once everything was combined.

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Awful!!! It was really lemony, really rich and positively stuffed with mayo. To read the whole horror, you can check out the post here.

And, finally, we were almost done.  We only had one recipe left, and had started bickering about which of the 10 or so previous recipes might be considered bad enough for the final spot. There had been some gelatin incidents Tom didn’t enjoy, and a casserole that I had thought was pretty poor. But then we both got a whiff, and a mouthful, of our last finalist, and the decision was out of our hands. After all, no one can argue with…

Finalist #4 – Tuna Upside Down Bake

It’s weird. It contains Veg-All. It’s upside down and the bottom looks like pre-digested dinner.

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Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts sent in this baby after she had wrestled with another disgusting vintage Veg-All recipe on her blog. At first I was skeptical, and thought this actually might be pretty good. But then I figured out that the sauce in this dish is made with the juice from the Veg-All can. And that Veg-All contains, among other things, canned celery. It was pretty much all downhill from there. 

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It was really, really bad. While I wasn’t moved to tears as I have been by previous dishes, ahem, it was bad enough that I threw a fit about having to eat it and questioned the sanity of even having a blog where we made bad recipes for dinner. And if it makes me question my devotion to vintage recipes, then it’s BAD.

To check out the whole post, go here.

Whew!! And that is it! Congratulations to all of our finalists, who found some of the most hilarious and horrible vintage tuna recipes out there. And thanks to everyone who sent in a submission! It was a lot of fun, and Tom and I had a great time sorting, planning, making and tasting all of the recipes. You guys really are great!!!

And now…to choose a winner!

Voting starts today and ends Tuesday, August 9th. The winner will be announced August 10th. Voters are allowed one vote per 24 hour period, so be sure to rally your friends and family and let them know you are competing for vintage cookbooks. They need to vote! It’s important stuff!

[polldaddy poll=5334531]

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5 Responses to Voting Begins In Our “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna Contest”!

  1. Sharon (Charm and Poise) Reply

    August 3, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Oh boy, it is really spine tingling to see those tuna horrors one after the other like that!! *shivers*

  2. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    August 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Gosh, my stomach did FOUR lurches! They’re all gross!

  3. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Eeks!!! I don’t know how y’all managed to eat all those crazy tuna recipes, you certainly deserve a gold star after all of that! Can’t wait to find out who wins.

  4. Carole M. Reply

    August 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Well, I tried that recipe from the Reminisce Magazine’s retro ad. It was wonderful! Lime gelatin, vinegar, chopped celery and chopped green olives. Pour half of the mixture into a mold to set. While it sets, you add chopped cucumbers, mayo and tuna to the rest. Pour the creamy layer on top of the clear layer.
    It was pretty, and actually tasted pretty good. I believe the vinegar and the olives are mainly responsible for its not tasting like a dessert that inexplicably contains tuna. I made deviled eggs to go along with it and served it on a bed of shredded lettuce.
    The only problem is that no one else in the house would dream of touching it so I will most likely eat some today and then it will be tossed out.
    I was born in the 1950s so I have a nostalgic affinity for these oddball foods. Almost every summer I make a molded jello salad of some sort.
    Loved the tuna contest. I think the pizza one made me laugh the most; food was SO bland back then. Pizza was seen as a very exotic food. I remember hearing a neighbor (younger and hipper than my parents) tell of this strange new food called a “TACK-o”. This was ca 1958 in Southern California. Imagine not ever hearing of a taco! My family was from “back East”, Pennsylvania. All we knew was meat/starch/veg meals and some pretty bland casseroles.

    • RetroRuth Reply

      August 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      Carole! Did you snap a picture??? Send it to me, or snap a picture before you huck it in the trash and then send it to me. Sounds pretty crazy, but not that disgusting. Tom and I found that for the most part the tuna gelatins that contained mayo and tuna in them just tasted like tuna salad and not too bad. As long as they didn’t have any other freaking scary ingredients in them, like a whole can of cream of chicken soup or something. (Crazy!) Glad you were brave enough to try that, and glad that it turned out well!!

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