Twist on Tuna Fish Salad

During my dating years with Ben, I at a meager 19 years of age & at times a bit emotionally verbose.  Well, that's the nice way of putting it...I should say, more like you're average, 'head in the clouds, idealist romantic teenage girl, somewhat resembling Kelly Kapoor at my low points.'

Now, as I envisioned our relationship in my daydreamer television, a surprise homemade lunch would knock it out of the park.  So, as I was working full time gaining Washington residence, while Ben went to school full time, I would typically visit him on a day off.  And this day off entailed me making him a surprise lunch.  I had just made homemade potato salad, which would accompany a tuna fish sandwich on an ethereal sunny Spring Bellingham day.

I was so proud of my domesticity and resourcefulness of using what was in my kitchen, and Ben was sure to LOVE it.  It was an act of service & love...what was not to love about it.  I caught the bus to campus and met him at the campus' main bus shelter, where we walked to a little nook overlooking the bay.  We sat down, me beaming to hear words of praise & exultation and begging for seconds.

As I pulled out the sandwiches & potato salad (I'm sure there was something else in there, but what ensued was a bit traumatic for me), I announced what lay wrapped in the wax paper & rubbermaid container to receive a reaction quite contrary to what I envisioned.  Rather than being lifted upon his shoulders singing, "For she's a jolly good lady...," he gave a look.  Yes, a look.  The look an infatuated, emotionally volatile 19 year old NEVER wants to see from her boyfriend (God bless him for enduring).  The kind of look that has detest written all over it...the crinkled nose, the squinched eyes & turned up brows & mouth, but with a hint of empathy mixed through it all. (I'm sure there was more empathy, but it got clouded)

Ben said, "Umm, I don't like tuna fish."

Me stunningly replied, "Oh.  Well, I made homemade potato salad!"  Hoping that that would cover a multitude, but he replied... with another look.  "What!" I said.  He simply had the look as if hoping I could read his mind, which I could, but at this point, I wanted him to tell me.  Then, I called him on it (with a deep breath), "you don't like potato salad either?!"

"No, not really," he replied.

What ensued was not one of my proudest moments.  Tears began to teeter, but eventually fell with force down my face and I believe I mumbled out something to the effect, "if you love me you would eat it!"  Ben, in his righteousness, ate the sandwich that day, along with the potato salad.  He did it without grumbling (for the most part) and satisfied my personal insecurity as a young lady.

I learned two things that day.  Not any man would be willing to put up with such emotional displays, unless he himself was infatuated or if he could see something a diamond needing more polishing.  And two, never, never will I insist that his love is dependent on what I make (well almost never:) ).  But one things for sure, when tuna or albacore is bought in this household I know I could put our whole life savings on him not eating one bit.  And in honor of love without reason comes a tuna fish salad for these dreary winter months when you need to be reminded of sunshine spilling on you.

Mise en Place


Albacore Salad (printable recipe)

I had a similar tuna fish salad sandwich while pregnant with my youngest and it forever changed my concept of how it's made.  This is very forgiving, so use more olives if you like, or less artichokes, or whatever.  All of these naturally pair well together.  And you can serve it on top of a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich.


1-can water packed albacore, drained

zest of one lemon

juice of half lemon

1/4 of red onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon green olives, roughly chopped

4 artichoke whole canned artichoke hearts, sliced in quarters (I use water packed)

3 tablespoons mayo, I use light

1-2 teaspoons kosher salt

generous grinds of the pepper mill, or 1/2 teaspoon already ground pepper

Quarter your artichokes, dice your onion, chop your olives, zest lemon and set aside.  Put drained tuna or albacore into a bowl.  Add all of prepared ingredients, along with juice of half lemon, salt, pepper, & mayo.  Mix together and serve it up, but not to someone who doesn't like tuna fish from a can.