Tuna Pizza – Tuna Contest Finalist #2

Posted on Jul 13 2011 - 6:00am by RetroRuth

There is a first time for everything, even here on the Mid-Century Menu! And this post has the honor of containing two firsts: The first time we have had the same exact same entry from two contestants AND the first time we have featured this:


Yes! *Enthusiastic head nodding* Check out this “handy new way” to make tuna pizza. Which begs the question: What was the old way?

But still, I was floored. Tuna on pizza! Tuna!!!!! Can you believe it? I couldn’t. And I was really excited when I saw it.

And so were two other people.

Bob writes:

This is from the March 1958 issue of Family Circle comes Tuna Pizza! This recipe has so many mid-century things going for it:

1. It’s a “quick ‘n easy” recipe that looks like far too much trouble for the end result (that crust looks like a pain to make.)

2. There is at least one ingredient or step that is cringe-inducing (“Mix ½ cup Pet Evaporated Milk, ¾ cup Parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon onion salt. Let stand to thicken.”)


3. The math just doesn’t work no matter how you try: Biscuits + Evaporated Milk + Ketchup + Tuna do not, I repeat do not equal Pizza.

4. Ketchup? On Pizza? Seriously?

5. Really, it seems like the kind of thing Mom would serve when she’s mad at the family.

And Sharon writes:

The final tuna tempter is the unique Tuna Pizza with a crust made from biscuits topped with a double layer of sauce – one made from evaporated milk! The recipe is the selling feature for Pet Evaporated Milk, and appeared in the March 1958 edition of Everywoman’s magazine. There is no blanket of nippy shredded cheese over the pizza, just beautiful, naked chunks of canned tuna to tingle your taste buds!

Thanks for running this great contest!

No, thank YOU Sharon and Bob, for sending me this…this masterpiece of…ridiculousness. Words seriously fail me. Seriously.

And you know what time it is when words fail me.  Time to get cooking.


Because I can’t let a challenge like this go unanswered. You guys sent me Tuna Pizza make with biscuits and ketchup and, by God, you are going to get it!


This is the resulting sad approximation of some sort of pizza crust. I was proud that it was at least vaguely round in shape and somewhat thin. I honestly didn’t spend that much time fussing with it because… 


…I figured I was just going to ruin it anyway. By pouring “thickened” evaporated milk and parmesan cheese on it and then… 


…plopping on fat splats of ketchup.



That looks about right.

Then came the all important “adding of the tuna” layer. Which Tom got a great action shot of:


They’re watching me.

Always watching.



Lip-smacking-tastic. This almost doesn’t make me want to throw up.


It even got a little oozy in the oven.

Shhh…if you listen real close…you can almost hear the gagging.


Actually, this shot doesn’t make it look too bad.  If you kind of squint, turn your head sideways and hold your hand over one eye you can sort of pretend it is a BBQ chicken pizza instead of tuna and ketchup.

Yeah…almost got it…


…now! All plated up and ready for the Bridge Club.

The Bridge Club in Hell.

Or just ready for poor, poor Tom.


“Do I really have to eat this?”

“Get too it, Buddy. People are waiting.”



I love that you can immediately see the look of concern.


And then it gets worse.


And worse.


And then he thinks about spitting it out.


Finally, it’s down.


“This is really, really bad. You should totally try it.”

The Verdict: Gross. I had one bite. One. That was it for me. Tuna, ketchup and parmesan are actually worse together than you could ever imagine. And then you slather it on a biscuit and you are heading straight to Insane-ville. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Thank you Bob and Sharon for a highly entertaining finalist! I wish I would have gotten a picture of Tom’s face when he saw the recipe. It was equal parts horror, terror and panic. Truly a moment for the ages!

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post, where another finalist for “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna” will be revealed!!

*Note: And yes, some eagle-eyed readers will note that I DID forget the onion salt! Oops! Well, if it makes you feel better, nothing was going to save this one!

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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. Charm and Poise July 13, 2011 at 9:17 am - Reply

    Oh boy! I KNEW that tuna pizza was going to be horrific! 🙂

  2. veg-o-matic July 13, 2011 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Ah, thank you Ruth! This recipe turned out just as badly as I imagined it would.

    *This* eagle-eyed reader noticed that you left out the oregano, not onion salt.

    Too bad, as the oregano totally would have saved it.

  3. Miss RM July 13, 2011 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Oh geez! I think we have a winner here! That is truly, truly horrific! Even Tom had trouble getting that down!

  4. Retrochef Erica July 13, 2011 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Wow! That tuna pizza was on my list of options too, but (surprisingly) didn’t manage to be the nastiest looking.

    And I love that my household isn’t the only one where you’re like to hear: “This is really, really bad. You should totally try it.” 😀

  5. RetroRuth July 13, 2011 at 11:34 am - Reply

    C&P – You hit a home run with that one!!

    Veg – Ha ha! I actually managed to remember the oregano in between my bouts of drying heaving, believe it or not. I just didn’t mention it. You can kind of see it a little on the picture right after the cats. But in the end not even the power of Oregano could save this cursed dish!

    Miss RM – It WAS truly terrible!

    Retrochef – Ha ha, I know what you mean. This one was kind of a sleeper hit. I thought it totally wouldn’t be that bad and then it whacked us in the head with foulness. And yes, forcing someone else to try something horrible is the best part!

    • veg-o-matic July 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Ooops. My bad.

      It’s the onion salt that would have totally saved this.

      Because, you know, evaporated milk and parmesan cheese without onion salt is just gross.

      • RetroRuth July 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm - Reply

        You know it, Veg! 🙂

  6. Andrea July 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Wow – is this the first time that Tom only took one bite and that was it?? I think it is the first time that I can recall!

  7. Kim Campbell July 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Tom = Brave

    Wow! DId the kitty’s like it? ;0

  8. Garnet Scarabin July 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    I REALLY want to make this… and I have a prospective home-cooked-dinner date coming up. 😀

  9. Christian March 24, 2012 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    Tuna Pizza is totally legit in Italy (unlike chicken pizza, the idea of which makes my Italian friends want to throw up). Pretty sure ketchup isn’t good under any circumstances though ..

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