As a kid, I was always a picky eater. The only things that my mom could get me to eat was homemade soft tacos (just meat and cheese, thank you), spaghetti (plain, only with sprinkle Kraft Parmesan cheese on top) and chicken patties (Tyson brand only, please), plain on a bun. Sometimes I would relent and have a hot dog (beef, not pork, which was hard to find at the time), but only if it was plain.
I would take turkey sandwiches (just the lunch meat and bread) for lunch, with chips – Doritos, Pringles, or Lays – as a side and gummies for dessert. Finally, after she was tired of seeing me take the same lunch over and again every day to school, she helped me find another type of meal for my lunchbox: steamy Hot Pockets wrapped in aluminum foil. (My mother was a genius, yes?) Of course, since it was barely even a new product, the only flavor Hot Pockets offered at the time was pepperoni, so my friend would watch in amazement as I picked out ALL the pepperoni and left the pocket practically empty. “Are you really not going to eat that?” He would ask me. It’s true. I would not.
There was one meal which my mother could make, and I think she took advantage of it some because it was actually a healthy meal that I would happily eat. I loved my mother’s tuna fish sandwiches.
Now, I’m still picky about my tuna. I don’t like mustard in the sandwich, and I don’t like pickles. But I love my mother’s tuna sandwiches. Lucky for me, she passed the recipe along, so that I could continue to fix the tuna sandwiches that I enjoy so much.
When we took in my 2nd cousin as a baby and raised him, he proved to be… quite the picky eater. For a long time, he would only eat olives, oatmeal, anything jalapeno or cherry (candied, not fresh), and…. tuna sandwiches, made just like my mom would make for me.
I was on Pinterest a while back, finding recipes online of all the meals we enjoyed (because Lacy and I do much of the cooking for our family) and I searched for my mother’s tuna sandwich recipe, or even just a tuna salad recipe that was similar. I searched site after site after site, but couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. I feel it’s a bit of an injustice, since this tuna was the ONLY kind of tuna I would eat as a kid, and Jake (my picky eater brother mentioned above) acts the same way.
So I’ve decided to share it on the blog.
- 1 family pack tuna (11 ounces)
- 3 or 4 boiled eggs
- 2 or 3 big, red apples of your choice, peeled
- 3 or 4 or 5 heaping soup spoons of mayonnaise (about 2/3 or 1 cup)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
Step 1: Prepare. Get all your ingredients together before you begin. It’s easier to work if you already have everything ready when you start.
Step 2. Chop the apples into a big serving bowl. You can put either 2 or 3 apples, depending on if you like the apple flavor more. My family loves the apple addition, so I usually chop 3 apples.
Step 3: Chop the eggs up into the bowl with the apples. Again, you can choose to use 3 or 4, depending on if you like to have an eggy sandwich. I use 4 because that’s how my family prefers it.
At this point, I like to add a dash of salt, to flavor the eggs and apples more.
Step 4: Add the tuna and mix it with the apples and eggs. (Don’t forget to drain the tuna if you’re using a can instead of a package.)
Step 5: Add the mayonnaise. If you like dry tuna, use less. If you prefer a more moist tuna then add more. You can use a measuring cup, but I typically just use a soup spoon to dish it out of the mayo jar. Usually it takes about 3 or 4 spoonfuls, but sometimes it takes 5 or 6. Just do a little at a time until you get the right amount of moistness. Be careful! It is possible to put too much mayonnaise.
Sprinkle a light layer of pepper onto the tuna, and stir it in. Add more salt, too, if you want.
This makes about 8 sandwiches. If you’re like Jake and you don’t prefer bread, then you can eat it as a dip on fritos, corn chips, or potato chips, instead. If you’re like Lacy and you have a yeast allergy, you can also eat it as a wrap, on crackers, or simply on top of lettuce as a salad.
For variety, try chicken instead of tuna: substitute the tuna fish for 4 plain, baked chicken breasts chopped and add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. If you also add 1/2 cup of purple grape halves, then you’ll get a chicken salad sandwich similar to Arby’s chicken salad sandwich (one of my favorite meals when I eat out). Yum!
True Story: I was making the tuna tonight to take a few pictures of it, and got completely mixed up with the steps, putting the mayo before the tuna, because I was so caught up in whether the pictures looked right. Where’s a photographer when I need one? (I’m the photographer, but don’t take pictures and cook all at the same time! You’re brain’ll get flustered and it’ll be hard to think. )
I made the tuna as usual, I thought! But I guess I forgot the extra apple, and I used the wrong mayo spoon so the tuna was too dry, and I paid the price. The moment Jake got a spoonful on his plate he reacted. “Ew! Kathryn, what did you do different this time!? Are you trying to poison me with fish?” It must not have been that different though, because he still ate it without any post-serving complaints.