Bailey Tries… Tuna and Waffles
After stumbling across this advertisement in research for a lecture I was given, I knew there was no way I could miss out on trying this monstrosity of beige boredom. The depths of mid-century cooking never ceases to amaze me. Never in my wildest imaginings could I dream that cream of mushroom soup, tuna and olives could be applied so liberally across such a variety of platforms and yet these ingredients seem to pepper every cookbook produced during this period. This is one of those recipes that contains everything I love but terrifies me when combined in the same way my grandmother’s strawberry jello cottage cheese salad made me gag every Thanksgiving.
My main issue with this concoction is that I don’t love seafood with dairy outside of an alfredo situation and I’m confused by the concept of a briney ingredient with dairy as well. I guess, I’m saying that I kind of get how this COULD work but I also see how it could be as disastrous as the above picture would lead you to believe so as always… I wanted to know. (That should actually be my epitaph as there’s a distinct possibility that my curiosity might also be my demise but hopefully not this time.)
To begin, I chose the “semi homemade” option of frozen waffles because I felt that is what every enterprising 50s housewife would have done. Work smarter not harder, right? As far as tuna, I chose to go with the canned original to get the full effect. I don’t think I’ve bought canned tuna in years and I was even tempted to look for tuna in oil because that was popular at the time but I just couldn’t go that greasy. I can’t imagine that it will make a huge difference in the overall effect of this meal. Ha!
Sometimes, pictures don’t do justice to the coloring of a plate of food. After all, this ad is from 1954, so it’s not like they could throw an Instagram filter on top to help the situation. I thought that perhaps, in person, this would look like less of a beige blob and be more visually appealing...I was wrong! Like wrong, wrong! I took a cooking class in high school in which the teacher placed a great emphasis on using a diverse range of colors on a plate to balance everything out but the few pops of color from the olives just didn’t do enough to help the looks. Actually, this ended up looking like cat vomit and it didn’t smell much better. I even tried a bright plate to help the situation out but it was like trying to put lipstick on a pig. The contrast of colors made this monstrosity even less appealing which I truly didn’t believe possible.
So, what about the flavor? Let me tell you, the waffle was a blessing. Somehow, that is the first flavor to really hit you and if texture doesn’t bother you it seems kind of mediocre for about 15.3 seconds. Then you are hit with a tuna/mushroom combo which never occurred to me as a tragic possibility but main it was unbelievably awful and then you get the lovely surprise of a slimy olive. I took about two bites before deciding my curiosity was satiated and I would reserve the rest for the dogs being that this recipe made four VERY generous servings.
In my humble opinion, I’d skip this little jaunt down the historic food aisle. Maybe drink some Tang if you’re feeling really nostalgic. Of course, I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t be so quick to try bizarre things but we all know that would be a lie. After all, I just want to know...