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As a boy I didn’t often eat lunch at school, but when I did I recall it was nearly always a brown bagged tuna fish sandwich. My mother, the gourmet, made these with the holy Midwest trinity of tuna fish, mayonnaise, and white bread. I suspect the recipe was mostly convenience: just open a can and a jar and slap it on bread and Bob’s your uncle. My grade school colleagues ate similar sandwiches, although their mothers were more racy than mine. Theirs included celery bits, pickle relish, or paprika – something I had never seen before.  I remember one poor girl was ostracized as a radical when her tuna fish sandwich was revealed to have chopped apple in it when all our lunches had the  delicious red apple separate from the sandwich.

I am not complaining; I liked tuna fish. I still do. I don’t eat it much anymore as when I do I feel guilt I am killing off the dolphins and contributing to the demise of the sea. Then there is all the mercury I am inhaling with each bite.  Nowadays when I make a tuna fish sandwich I prefer them open-faced and broiled with lots of bubbly cheese on top.

Mother would not recognize my tuna fish sandwiches if she were to have one. I learned tuna is quite obliging for all sorts of add-ons. Nowadays I use lettuce, tomato, chopped onion – even hot sauce. More often than not I use some binder other than nasty old mayo. Someone can’t eat it and mayo is as bland as bland can be.  I recently learned a tip to grind up a tin of sardines in oil and mix it with the tuna. This provides a tasty oily binder and some umami and perhaps diminishes the amount of tuna/mercury/guilt in the sandwich.

I can’t remember the last time white bread entered the Spo-house. Do they still make Wonder Bread I wonder?  I use bagels as they keep longer via the freezer. In a pinch I use hamburger buns especially if they look to be in need of using up.

I sometimes think to return to my Midwest roots and make me a sandwich using the original recipe. Perhaps it will make me feel back in grade school. Too bad I won’t have other kiddies with me with whom to swap half the sandwich for something else as was my wont. Mother never knew.


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December 2018

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018