Tuna Upside Down Bake – Contest Finalist #4

Posted on Jul 27 2011 - 12:29pm by RetroRuth

Well, it’s been a long and fishy road (literally) for our “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna” contest. We have tried every recipe, eaten some with gusto, choked down some others and decided which was the best and which was the worst.  But with this last finalist for our worst recipe, we have reached the end of the disgusting tuna-tasting road. And my taste buds couldn’t be happier!

Let’s all congratulate Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts on her disgusting finalist: Tuna Upside Down Bake.


Erica writes:

I had a few ideas, but I’ve picked out what is the most frightening to me personally. From the same canned vegetable company that invented the revolting Pie Plate Salad I made one time: Veg-All Tuna Upside-Down Bake

Wow. I have to admit, when I first took a look at this one, I passed it over for other tuna entries that seemed like they would be far more disgusting (Yeah, I was trying to get all of the bad ones out of the way first. Can you blame me?), but I have to say that when I took a closer look at the recipe, I realized this one was going to be a doozy. And not just because I hate lima beans. 


So, while I cooked this ridiculous recipe, I began to be intensely interested in the history of Veg-All. Sure, it looks cute from the outside, but inside it contains a confetti-like concoction of canned mayhem. And it led me to wonder: What exactly is in this happy little can, and how long have people been forced to eat it?



Luckily, the Veg-All website was more than happy to clue me in on this canned staple:

Veg-All® Original Mixed Vegetables – A delightful blend of Carrots, Potatoes, Celery, Sweet Peas, Green Beans, Corn, and Lima Beans in a light onion broth.

Wow, and there is the aforementioned light onion broth poured directly out of the can and waiting to be added into the “white” sauce. Eeesh.



Anyway, here is more info from the on Veg-All site:

The year was 1926-the Delta Queen was paddling up and down the Mississippi; Winnie-the-Pooh (and Tigger too!) ambled out of the Hundred Acre Wood; and names like Stalin, Mussolini, and Hirohito were being uttered for the very first time. Busy households were embracing electric toasters, zippers, and the world’s first convenience food-Veg-All.
Veg-All consisted of ten “extra fancy quality” vegetables in one can, endearing itself to housewives with its promise of “no scrubbing, no peeling, no work!”

  • Celery
  • String beans
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Lima beans
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Pimento

In those early days, Veg-All went all out in order to introduce itself to busy housewives. A coupon for a free can of Veg-All was published in Ladies Home Journal magazine. The nationwide free sample campaign was a huge success…garnering hundreds of thousands of new users.


The 1930s saw the United States in the midst of a Depression. Because of its versatility, Veg-All was touted as the perfect recipe ingredient to help housewives prepare delicious, nutritious meals on a tight budget.
In spite of the Depression, life was made a little easier; the end of Prohibition and the arrival of the first home air conditioner and refrigerator were celebrated from coast to coast.
Other exciting events during Veg-All’s first full decade included President Franklin Delano Roosevelt being elected to two terms in office, the premiere of Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and the inventions of fluorescent lighting and Polaroid® Film.
As the ’30s came to a close, Veg-All continued to grow in popularity. It was marketed as a “fresh vegetable garden in every can,” and each can contained meal-planning ideas and three convenient recipes on the inside of every label.


The ’40s. It was an era that witnessed the arrival of the atomic bomb to end World War II, an ushered in the invention of the automatic clothes dryer, the transistor, and the world’s first general-purpose computer.
It was also a time when the popularity of Veg-All increased dramatically. Seven out of every 10 cans of mixed vegetables sold were Veg-All, making it America’s most popular mixed vegetable. It’s a statement that still holds true today.


The 1950s were a time to celebrate families. Disneyland® opened in Los Angeles, American Bandstand and Rock and Roll concerts made their debut, as did Elvis, Dr. Seuss, Charlie Brown, and Smokey Bear.
During the 1950s, Veg-All changed its recipe; instead of 10 mixed vegetables, each can now contained seven. Okra, pimento and onion were taken out, leaving carrots, potatoes, celery, peas, beans, corn, and lima beans. A light onion broth was added to enhance Veg-All’ flavor. It’s a tasty combination that is still in use today.

Wow, fascinating stuff, huh? And if anyone is still awake out there, answer me this: Why couldn’t they have left in the onion and pimento and taken out the lima beans??? Why?


But back to the matter at hand, which would be this freaky upside down bake.

Now, as you can see, my biscuit mix turned out really, really runny. I am not sure why. Maybe because my box of Bisquick was really old, or maybe it is because of the difference between old Bisquick and modern Bisquick, but the Bisquick was more pourable than rollable, so I just poured it on top and spread it out.


Not too terrible!


Not too terrible at all. In fact I think this might even work out if…


Or not. Wow that’s…really gooey.


“Wow, this looks really gooey.”

“Enough comments, just try it!”







“So, how bad is it?”

“It’s not great. It is mostly bland, and has a weird aftertaste.”

I took a bite. It was bland, and then it tasted strangely of canned things. All in all, pretty gross.

The Verdict: Gross. Mostly bland and tasteless, and what taste it did have was courtesy of the Veg-All veggies, canned onion juice and Bisquick. Which is NOT a good combo. And there were technical difficulties as well. The “white” sauce probably could have been cooked more on the stove to firm it up a bit (my fault), and if the Bisquick mixture would have been the correct consistency, maybe it would have looked more upside-down cake like instead of looking like someone barfed mixed vegetables on a plate. But the cruddy taste makes a second attempt at this useless. 

Well, that’s it for the “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna” Finalists! Come back next week to start voting on the winner of the worst tuna recipe!


WordPress Author Box

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).

Like us on Facebook
on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter
Follow @MidCenturyMenu on Twitter

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

  1. Andrea July 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Some days, I truly wonder if people back then had tastebuds, LOL. How did this recipe ever make it out of a test kitchen?? Ick!

    • nlpnt August 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      I blame it on all the smoking. Most people, by age 25 or so probably didn’t have functioning tastebuds, and had a greatly diminished sense of smell. And of course the house reeked of it!

      • RetroRuth August 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm - Reply

        Hmm…you have a good point!

  2. Toni July 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    It makes me sad that people must have been so hungry back then to eat this stuff. Because I’d have to be STARVING.

  3. Retrochef July 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (cough) er, my sincere sympathies for this submission! Seriously, all Veg-All vintage recipes I’ve seen end up looking like someone barfed mixed vegetables on a plate. The only difference from your result is that Veg-All’s looks like barf that’s been left out longer to congeal.

    And just imagine this with vintage Veg-All, okra and all!

  4. dave July 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Yuck! That looks like it’s already been digested.

  5. Yinzerella September 27, 2011 at 10:40 am - Reply

    This Veg-All…do they not carry it in the Eastern US? I’ve never seen it.

    • RetroRuth September 28, 2011 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Not sure! Maybe you need to go to trashier stores. 🙂

  6. BlueRoc85 November 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    FYI…I saw a Veg All coupon in the paper this evening!

  7. JJ January 20, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Use cubed turkey or chicken and leave it right side up in a casserole dish, and you’ve got turkey/chicken a la king. My aunt (now age 79) made so much of it for her daughter’s baby shower, and we had to eat leftovers for days. Yuck. At the same time, it was an easy version of a pot pie in casserole form.

Leave A Response