We were watching TV earlier this week when for some reason I remembered an old commercial that use to come on all the time. Its slogan was “Beef, it's for supper.” It got me to thinking. We did not always have a good meal when I was younger. When I was growing up, we were far from being well off. We were very poor and lived paycheck to paycheck. One occasion for Thanksgiving dinner we were able to splurge and go to IHOP. Yep, I remember many times we were graced with the wonderful supper of having tuna gravy. You’re probably thinking, “What is tuna gravy?” I know most of you know what S.O.S means when it comes to food, and no we’re not talking about a ship going down in the ocean, we are talking about the horrible meal on top of a piece of toast. Now I am sure everyone has their own version of this and we all know how horrible it can be. For our household it was called tuna gravy and we had it at least 2 to 3 times a week. It was simple to make. Add 1 package of gravy and 1 can of Tuna in a skillet, heat and pour it over bread. Now if you’re lucky, the bread was toasted! Most of the times we had milk to go with it, but sometimes we had to use the milk to make the gravy, and there were times when we had to use water instead of milk…. Very, very runny. It was kind of like drinking tuna water.
I know that some people like some very odd things. Even Elvis Presley liked peanut butter and banana sandwiches. There are some very weird combinations that people have come up with. Some of them work out and some don’t. I’m sure that people first thought that whoever mixed peanut butter and chocolate was crazy, but he turned out to be a genius! Imagine this, A couple of rednecks out fishing and getting drunk: they order a pizza, (delivery of course). As one redneck goes to get another beer and his “buddy” put some of the fishing bait on his slice of pizza for a practical joke. He doesn’t want to look like a wimp, so he eats it. Viola, the anchovies on pizza craze is born. I kind of wonder how the pineapple or ranch dressing on a pizza became such a hit, or even the supreme with all the vegetables. The combinations could be endless.
I noticed the other day when at the convenience store getting a fountain drink, that all kind of combinations for drinks are available. The combinations are even more now than when I was a kid getting something that we called a “Suicide.” It was easy to make. You poured about 4 different types of soda in a cup and that was what you drank. It usually consisted of Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, and of course Big Red all mixed together. Now they have different syrups to mix into your drinks. I saw a young child getting just about every kind of syrup and soda all mixed and thought to myself, “Now that is a suicide. He drinks all of that, he will be bouncing off all the walls and his parents are bound to kill him!”
So, tuna and gravy; what a combination. Have I mentioned that I do not eat tuna any longer? I have not had it since I was a child, but I can remember the taste. I love hamburger helper growing up. That was a luxury at times. Unfortunately they also had…. You got it, Tuna Helper! That stuff is still horrible! Pasta and tuna? That is another combination that I do not understand. Who in the world keeps thinking this stuff up? I understand that we all fall on hard times sometimes, but tuna has got to be the worst replacement for meat. I am all for eating nothing but veggies, but that is only on a pizza and a salad. If you need fish, find a good place that serves a good catfish. I understand that fish is expensive, but why is tuna so cheap? Because it taste horrible and you can put It on anything and everything.
Here is something else that we had when we were poor…. Salmon patties. Who else had to watch their mother open a can of salmon meat, knead it into a patty, bread it and fry it up. All the ketchup in the world could not help them taste any better; they still left that dry taste in your mouth. Again, this is something that we had on a good day. In the event that we did not have salmon or tuna, we had potato patty. Same thing, mashed potatoes made into a patty and fried like a fish. So this is what we had most of the time, salmon, tuna, or potatoes. I still love potatoes mainly fries or mashed potatoes with gravy. But no tuna mixed into it!
When I came home the other night, my wife and I decided to go and get sandwiches for supper. I, of course, got a real meat; ham, chicken and roast beef sandwich, but what is that smell? As I walked into the kitchen, the smell of the odd combination hit me. Miracle Whip and tuna fish, yep, you guessed it, “Tuna sandwich, its what’s for supper!”