I’m thinking since we put apples in the chicken salad, we put them in the tuna also. I searched for recipes with this variation, but found none in the Times or epicurious on line apps. Of course, Martha Stewart did make an apple tuna variation. My childhood memories are of the classic Starkist tuna recipe: chopped sweet gherkins or sweet pickle relish and chopped onions, heavy on the mayo.
As for adding the apples, it might be a holdover from depression era cooks’ proclivity to stretch an expensive ingredient with a more available one in season.
The Oxford Companion to Food & Drink tells about the introduction of tuna to the American menu. Bumble Bee was the first canned tuna. Folks said it “tasted like chicken.”
The canned tuna has evolved to pouch tuna, and now we can get flash frozen tuna steaks. Some groceries even sell fresh tuna, and coastal cities even have fish markets to purchase the whole, fresh fish. Barbecue anyone!?
One dish I can no longer eat, for my taste buds grew tired of its variations and its constant presence in my early married poverty years. This is the tuna casserole. I made this with noodles, vegetables, condensed soup, dressed with the broken contents of potato chip bags (waste not, want not), and onions. It had the virtue of being filling, inexpensive, and providing easily reheated leftovers.
But so does the classic tuna apple salad, which makes two large servings for salad greens, or four hearty servings for sandwiches.
For tea sandwiches, it makes bazillions, for all the ingredients get chopped fine. Ladies, you understand, have delicate sensibilities, so chopping off the crusts and spreading the salad thinly is a must. Of course, none of these fragile feminine folk will ever get curly hair. To do this, my Nannie said I had to hide behind the closet door and eat these crusts in private. 👒
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