Tuna Royals

Posted on Apr 29 2009 - 8:41am by RetroRuth

book-cover001Hello, everyone!  Welcome to Mid-Century Menu, the weekly Wednesday post in which I pick a mid-century recipe to cook and serve for dinner from my vast collection of vintage cookbooks.  And it is usually an “interesting” recipe.  Interesting as in, who would have ever thought of putting those things together?  And why?

This week’s Mid-Century Menu comes from the Bisquick Party Book, another great cookbook inherited from my grandmother. The publishing date on this one is 1957, so you know we are in mid-century flavor country now.  So to speak.

The fairly weak premise of this book is basically snacks and party dishes that you can make using Bisquick.  Most of the book is taken up with appetizer recipes that use the biscuit version of Bisquick.  I have to admit I am really excited to make a snack spread with some of the recipes in this book and then invite unsuspecting friends over to try them. Muaahha ha ah! But that will have to wait for another month.

party-pancakes003This week I decided to pick from the “Party Pancakes and Waffles” section of the book, which is only two short pages.  Apparently there aren’t too many versions of party pancakes that made the cut for this book.  So we can assume that the ones that made it are good, right? Right?

Not really. Ladies and gentlemen, meet “Tuna Royals”, the tuna salad wrapped in a pancake and then baked in the oven. Tuna Royals have the dubious honor of being the first Mid-Century Menu recipe dinner that I actually COULD NOT finish.  But more on that later. Let’s get right too it and jump into the recipe.

party-pancakes002The first part of Tuna Royals was, of course, cooking up a big bunch of the thinner version of these Bisquick pancakes.  Gotta cram all the Bisquick in we can!

The recipe claims these cakes were supposed to be light and lacy, but mine definately didn’t turn out that way.  I either must not have added enough milk, or Bisquick has changed, because I ended up with 7 completely regular 5 inch pancakes instead of the 10 lacy cakes I was supposed to end up with. 

However, it all turned out well in the end, since I wouldn’t have had enough room in my baking pan for more, anyway.

I am sure you have all seen pancakes being made, but for those if you who haven’t, here is the procedure:birthday-and-tuna-royal-030

The pancake batter, ready to go.  And yes, I did put 2 cups of milk in it, it just didn’t turn out right…birthday-and-tuna-royal-032The large cakes cooking in the pan.  On second thought, I guess they do look lacy.  I guess I was thinking that lacy meant light and lacy.  Not looking lacy but still weighing a ton.

Ok, pancakes completed. Now on to the actually recipe.party-pancakes001

Yeah.  Just in case condensed soup isn’t thick enough, let’s reconstitute it with a lot of milk and then thickenen again it with more Bisquick! It’s win-win!

In my opinion, that is where this recipe really goes wrong.  Once again, more on that later. birthday-and-tuna-royal-034The ingredients for the tuna filling, hanging out in the prep bowl.  In all honesty, the filling was actually good.  I kind of balked at so many pimentos, but it all turned out ok in the end. birthday-and-tuna-royal-038The filling, all mixed together.  I ate a spoonful of it and laughed happily because it was edible.  Hubs was busy laughing over the “sauce”, which looked like this:birthday-and-tuna-royal-040Yes, it IS cream of celery soup with Bisquick in it! Wow. Cooked down, the sauce didn’t thicken nearly as much as I would have hoped.


Assembling the “royals”. It wasn’t difficult at all, so that is a point in this recipe’s favor.  I thought all of the pancakes would split apart, but it actually worked out well…birthday-and-tuna-royal-044I could only cram 6 in the pan.  It was probably because my pancakes were too fat, but that wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t! I swear!

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for.  It is always with an awed, hushed silence that we contemplate the picture that we all have been dying to see….which is….birthday-and-tuna-royal-059

…the moment the dish is ruined. Permanently. The celery soup “sauce” was far too runny, and immediately started its active destruction of the dish.  The pancakes became soggy and began to fall apart, leaving tuna filling leaking out onto the bottom of the dish. birthday-and-tuna-royal-066About to take a bite.  Notice how I have taken the filling that was falling out and threw it on top of the pancakes. 

Ok, now we finally get to it.  I ate this bite, and another one, and then I couldn’t eat anymore.  First of all, the pancakes were way, way too thick.  It would have been edible if the pancakes would have been much thinner and maybe a little crispy.  The texture was just all wrong.  Which led to the next issue, I think.  The thick texture made the pancake soggy and nasty when covered with the soup, and not good soggy like when they are soaked with syrup.  The cream of celery soup was mostly tasteless, having been thinned by so much milk, and I couldn’t choke the combination down.  I ate the filling out of the pancakes, and then left the rest for a starving Hubs.

My Verdict: Disgusting

Hubs, on the other hand, ate the entire pan and then most of my soggy pancake leavings.  He thought they weren’t bad, since soggy things don’t really disgust him the way they disgust me.  Since he was pretty insistent that they weren’t bad, I am splitting the verdict for him.

Hub’s Verdict: Not Bad

If I were crazy enough to make this recipe again, I would totally change elements of the recipe.  First off, the pancakes would be much thinner and lighter, kind of like a crepe.  And if I would use cream of anything soup, it would only be thinned slightly, not thinned and then thickened again.  It was a useless step, and in my opinion, the fatal one to this dish.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s horror!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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12 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sara in AZ April 29, 2009 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I totally agree on the whole soggy pancakes things – I hate too much syrup – or like when people pour ketchup all over their French Fries -YUCK! I was thinking crepes before I got down to the end and saw you had mentioned them – maybe next time??? At least Hubs was starving, so it was not a complete waste! 🙂

  2. RetroRuth April 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Ugh – soggy fries! I totally know what you mean, Sara! Yeah, thank goodness for Hubs, the human garbage can. Poor guy.

  3. Anonymous April 29, 2009 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I started giggling just reading the title of this post in my Reader! Another Clean Plate Club gold star for Hubs!

  4. Tikimama April 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    I started giggling just reading the title of this post in my Reader!

    Another Clean Plate Club gold star for Hubs!

  5. sablemable April 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Good Lord, these retro recipes seem to become worse and worse, LOL!

    Is that vintage Fiesta Ware, Ruth?

  6. Jane April 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    OK, I agree: hands-down the most disgusting thing you’ve attempted.
    I admire your questing spirit, Ruth, but I’m not so sure about your cookbooks, (even if they are family heirlooms!)

  7. sablemable April 29, 2009 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    So far I believe that Heinz cook booklet has the worst recipes. I’ll have to look over my old booklets and see what grosses me out and report back.

  8. Hubs April 30, 2009 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Not bad? I believe I have been misquoted. They were edible at best. The filling was quite reasonable but the pancakes were wrong… so very wrong. I’ve eaten worse, but I would not choose to eat it again. Now if the pancakes were replaced with biscuits…

  9. RetroRuth April 30, 2009 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Hubs! What the…you are supposed to be working!! 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Honey. You are the best for putting up with this….

    Hi Lisa, he does get a star, doesn’t he? Next week I am making him a cake as a reward.

    Hi sablemable! Are you feeling better? How is the ankle? I did get your recipe, thanks so much. Feel free to send along anything else you deem either delicious or disgusting. The rolls will probably be on the blog by the end of the month! Nope, not vintage Fiesta, that is the new stuff. We do have some vintage, but we don’t use it to have dinner…

    Hi Jane! I agree with you, this one was the worst. Blargh. Is it wrong for me to love the cookbooks because they are gross?? Hmmm…I will have to think about that…

  10. Tami April 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    This post came up in a google alert for Mid Century Modern, and all I can say is it was well worth the alert! I’ve gone back to read your other receipe try outs as well, and I am trying not to laugh out loud. Truly, these are remarkable combinations. I’ll be on the look out for appropriate era cookbooks in the future so i can inflict similar pain on my husband (who will also probably eat everything anyway).

  11. Dr. Julie-Ann May 1, 2009 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    This looks like it is an unfortunate variation on a good tuna royal recipe. Only the one I tried (and now I can’t remember which cookbook it was in) used a medium white sauce and toast. It was definitely Depression Food but it was pretty good!

    You lost me at the cream of celery soup. Bisquick pancakes (which I don’t care for anyway) should not be paired with any kind of soup. It’s just wrong.

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