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09/30/2022

~ History of Canned Tuna and Tuna Salad in America ~

6a0120a8551282970b0240a473fda2200cTuna or chicken salad is nothing fancy -- and it's ertainly not gourmet.  Just a quick and easy-to-make lunch made from ingredients you most-likely have on hand in your pantry -- and it'll keep you smiling all afternoon too.  Why? Because besides being loaded with fat-free protein (from tuna packed in water or the meat from leftover chicken breasts, plus hard-cooked eggs), it's filling and packed-full of flavor (from all the wonderful spices in your favorite "lite" Italian dressing). There's more. It's light -- a refreshing respite from calorie-packed carbohydrates.

We Americans have been eating tuna salad for over a hundred years. The first reference to tuna salad appeared in 1907, and by 1914 dozens of recipes had been published.  Tuna salad, classically made with with celery and mayonnaise, was a spin off of  chicken salad,  with tuna salad being touted as more convenient (due to the use of canned tuna) -- a big reason for its rise in popularity.  Because of its nutritional value, it was marketed as diet food during the 1960s.

6a0120a8551282970b02acc60eb440200bUntil the 1800s, the sardine was the canned fish Americans ate.  Tuna was available, but, what did arrive on our shores was imported by and for Italian immigrants.  That remained the case until 1903 when poor ocean conditions made for terrible sardine fishing -- the sardine-packing industry almost went under. It was then that Albert P. Halfill, an executive at the Southern California Fish Company in Los Angeles decided to look for an alternative. After experimenting with halibut, rock fish and albacore tuna (the latter of which was abundant off the California coast), he decided on albacore tuna packed in California olive oil.  The next task was to sell a product there was no market for.  

The selling point for Albacore tuna was to compare it to the mild white-meat chicken breast.  Via a combination of free tastings at county fairs and free tin giveaways with the purchase of coffee in grocery stores, it caught on and went on to become a pantry staple and convenience food in American kitchens, and, a special at lunch-counters everywhere.  By 1913 there were nine plants operating along the California coast and that grew to thirty-six canneries in five years.

~ Creamy, Chunky & Crunchy Classic Tuna Salad ~:

6a0120a8551282970b02a308e27c28200c~ Classic-Style Tuna, Egg & Shell Pasta Salad ~:

6a0120a8551282970b02a308e2982a200c~ Super-Easy Light & Skinny Tuna or Chicken Salad ~:

6a0120a8551282970b02acc60eb613200b~ Lighten Up w/a Refreshing Tuna-Mac Garden Salad ~:

6a0120a8551282970b0282e142ebaa200b~ Greek Pasta Salad w/Tapenade, Tuna & Tomato ~:

6a0120a8551282970b02a2eed88253200d~ Super-Easy Skinny Tuna Salad Pita Sandwiches ~:

6a0120a8551282970b02a308e27c76200c~ The Only Way You Will Get Me to Eat a Tuna Melt ~:

6a0120a8551282970b02a308e27c7d200c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)

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