Why I won’t eat canned tuna

In short, it smells funny. Also, it reminds me of high school lunches.

But before that, when I was too small to be entrusted to make my own lunch, Grandma “Monkey” would make me and my brother the best tunafish sandwiches (I think I actually called them that). My elegantly tall and thin grandmother hated to cook — she actually owned the I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken — would mix a can of tuna with delicately chopped celery and a bit of lemon juice. I was by all accounts a picky eater but would eat these without complaint. Glass of milk on the side, please.

I continued to eat tuna sandwiches and even to enjoy them much of the way through high school. But then there was the summer I think of as the time of too much tuna. Though I must have had some retail job or another, I ate at home quite a bit. My stepmother loved these stinky sandwiches (and still does, somehow) and made them every day for lunch. I can still see the can opening, fish crumbling into the big wooden bowl, adding some mayo and celery and smooshing some between slices of wheat bread. I ate them day after day those few months and have never done since. I should have eventually picked up a knife and some peanut butter and made my own lunch, but for some reason I never did. Half a lifetime later, I still can’t be in the same room with a can of tuna.

Late last year L brought out a fancy can of tuna and offered up a taste. A squinched nose gave me away– could it be she had never realized what effect that summer had on my taste for tuna? I paraphrased but agreed to try it despite our history together (me and the tuna, that is). Well, we won’t be seeing that happen again anytime soon! I still leave the room when Mr. Food pulls out his can for an occasional lunch. My day-job boss also eats the stinky stuff once in a while. Too bad I can smell it in my office too. At least the rest of the time I can avoid canned tuna, and I hope that someday (in line with peanut butter bans perhaps!) my little hypothetical kids won’t have to put up with it at school. Unless, of course, they take after their father.


One response to “Why I won’t eat canned tuna

  1. Your “Grandma Monkey” isn’t the ONLY one who owned the I Hate to Cook Book. In fact, I’m pretty sure I still HAVE mine. Ah, it was wonderful – I can still smell that Skillet Stroganoff!!!

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