Monday, August 25, 2008

RECESSION GOURMET: Mom's Tuna Mac Salad

In typical THG fashion once I started obsessing about the Tuna Macaroni Salad my Mom used to make I had to have some. So, on Saturday afternoon I set about boiling pasta, cutting and chopping veggies and eggs, wondering if: a) I'd come close to what Mom used to make; and, b) the dish would be as good as I remembered.

The recipe is simple enough that I could work away and watch the great one-two (or should that be "two-one"?) double shot of PREDATOR 2 and PREDATOR on TNT. I was careful not to cut myself while chopping and watching because, like Jesse The Body, "I ain't got time to bleed."

While waxing nostalgic for lets-blow-some-crap-up big-budget 80s action films I set about boiling water and cooking one pound of San Giorgio Elbow Macaroni. Speaking of which, has anybody else noticed the change in the San Giorgio package design? I couldn't figure out what was wrong until I looked in the pantry and brought out a box of the old, bold red and blue box.

Frankly, I'm not a fan, but like Chris said, "That's how marketing people get to keep their jobs."

Anyway, once the pasta was cooked to package directions I rinsed it under cold water to stop it from cooking any further and drained it. I transferred the pasta to a large mixing bowl and added splash of olive oil to keep it from sticking together while I let it chill in the fridge.

I then chopped (small, but not too small):
  • three stalks of celery
  • half an onion
  • four hard-boiled eggs
Once the pasta was sufficiently cooled I added the above ingredients and mixed thoroughly, then opened, drained and added six cans of Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water and blended again.

From there it was a matter of adding mayo, salt and pepper. My sister mentioned in her comments to my original post that Mom added sugar and I have a nagging suspicion that another secret ingredient may have been pickle juice, but I decided to quit while I was ahead.

Chris added the mayo and seasonings. Keep in mind that the salad will dry out a little in the fridge so you want to make sure you add enough mayo to keep it moist for the duration. At first it might look you've put in too much but in the past I've made the mistake of not putting in enough mayo at the outset and the whole salad gets dry and clumpy.

I'm pleased to report that the end result was a definite success and comes close to what I remember Mom making. The sight of a big ol' container of Tuna Mac Salad has been a comforting site, indeed.

4 comments:

Aj said...

SIX cans of tuna?!? I guess your mom used to make enough for the entire family!

Isn't it amazing how WWII-era moms (including mine) could make food stretch? A common "recession" meal for us was "western egg" which was basically a huge omlette/fritatta thing made with a dozen eggs, the last bits of a leftover ham, and a bell pepper. Or "noodles and scrambled eggs" which was just eggs scrambled up with thin PA Dutch brand egg noodles.

Sometimes she made tuna salad, but it didn't have the macaroni in it. Just tuna, eggs, celery, onions and carrots.

Rachel said...

That's a lot of tuna! I make tuna pasta salad a few times a month for lunch. My secret ingredient is capers.

Kathy said...

Mom confirmed today that pickle relish was an occasional ingredient; however, that would have been after I left because I never would have eaten ANYTHING with pickle relish in it and I always remember eating & loving maca tuna/tuna mac!

Dan said...

LOL, Mom's gotta be wondering why two of her children are grilling her about her tuna salad recipe!

As for the amount of tuna, that was my own personal amount that I added. I'm betting Mom didn't put that much in. Had a big bowl for lunch today and might have the rest with dinner! YUMMMM!!!