American Tuna: The Rise and Fall of an Improbable Food
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By Andrew F. Smith

A review by Marty Martindale, Editor, Foodsite Magazine

Have you grown up with just a little distain for tuna fish, mostly against the canned type, the sandwich filling your mom always depended upon when her imagination failed her?

Smith takes the lowly tuna and creates a scholarly hardcover volume of 242 pages, 53 pages of which are scholarly notes. If “Charley the Tuna” came to the surface and heard this statement, he would have remained happy the rest of his life.

This cheap sandwich spread for the thrifty went from being used as fertilizer to the elevated ad moniker, “chicken of the sea.” It was a large fiber in the North American fabric as a dietary whipping boy which battled its way through extreme international and environmental strife. Smith reveals it all.

In case your mom missed any, Smith’s tuna history also includes 27 test-of-time tuna recipes:

Baked Tuna Spanish
Tuna Canapes
Tuna en Casserole
Tuna Chowder – California
Tuna Croquettes
Deviled Tuna Baked in Shells
Tunny Fish or Horse Mackerel, Fried with Arrowroot Mayo  Sauce “Tuny Fritters”
Tuna Loaf
Tuna Omelet (a lengthy one)
Blue Sea Rarebit
Thon Marine Salad
Botargo Sandwiches
Tuna Sandwiches
Blue Sea Souffle
Tuna Fish Soup
Tuna a la Newberg
Tomatoes Stuffed with “Tunny”
Pierce’s “Tunny” Fish au Gratin
Pierce’s “Tunny” Cocktail
Tuna Fish Balls
Creamed Tuna Fish
Blue Sea Tuna Ring
Tuna Stuffed Eggs
Beech-Nut Fish and Spaghetti
Veal with Tunny (Vitello tomato)

Maybe your well-meaning mom hit them all. My mom’s favorite was her Curried Creamed Tuna with Hard-Boiled Eggs on Toast.

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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