Voting Begins In Our “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna Contest”!

Posted on Aug 3 2011 - 6:34am by RetroRuth

Let’s hear it once again for our finalists in our horrible mid-century Tuna Recipe Contest! Wow, guys, you went above and beyond for this one. Some terrible, terrible stuff appeared in my email inbox and then made its way onto our dinner table. It was crazy. It was hilarious. It was tons of fun.  And after all the (many!) tuna trials, Tom and I finally wash our hands of this whole fishy business, and we are ready for you guys to vote on the winner!

But before we get straight down to the voting, let’s have a little bit of a recap, shall we?

Over a month ago, Tom and I dug in and starting making tuna recipes.  At first, we were just perplexed. Then, our confusion turned to horror.  The recipes we were trying were good. Was it possible? Could it be? Could Tom’s love of canned tuna make anything we made taste good? We didn’t know what to do. We were stumped.  And then along came…

Finalist #1 – Tuna Fruit Salad

Yes, that’s right. Tuna and fruit, thrown together at last into a salad and coated with French dressing. 


Oh, and topped with a healthy-sized glob of mayo. *Gack*

Sent in by reader Karen, aka Miss RM, this weird entry didn’t disappoint in terms of flavor (it was horrible) or in Tom’s reflexive tasting face:


Blargh! Check out the whole post (written by Tom, no less! It was really that bad!) here.

There was another lull in finalists as we stumbled across a couple of unexpected good dishes, but we were finally dumped off Tuna-Cloud-9 and into the lap of the next finalist:

Finalist #2 – Tuna Pizza

Tuna pizza??? Tuna pizza?!??


Despite all my incredulous shrieking and Tom’s groans of horror, it is true. There is such a thing as tuna pizza. And it was submitted by two readers, if you can believe that! Sharon (Charm & Poise of Flickr fame) and the most excellent Bob (aka veg-o-matic) both sent in a scanned magazine ad for PET milk which contained this bizarre recipe. The “pizza” above has a canned biscuit crust, an indescribable sauce made of PET evaporated milk and parmesan cheese that is topped with ketchup (seriously!) and then canned tuna chunks.

Which makes sense in a way, because that combination of food is the only way you can get Tom to make this face:


You can actually see the horrified surprise. And the pain. And why shouldn’t he be horrified? He just had to bolt a mouthful of ketchupy-biscuit-tuna. It was disgusting. I know. I practically gagged on my bite.

Check out the post in chilling detail here.

But once we reached our second finalist, we started stumbling on disgusting contenders left and right. It seemed like every recipe was bad. I must have subconsciously picked only the good ones at first, leaving the worst for last. But can you blame me?  What would you do if you were faced with the prospect of making a recipe like our next finalist…

Finalist #3 – Tuna Molded Vegetable Salad

Sometimes something isn’t scary right off the bat. Sometimes, just bits of it are scary, but not too scary, and you think you can handle it. But then a lot of little things add up quickly, and all of a sudden you realize you are staring into the beady eyes of a lobster made of jellied mayo and tuna and you can’t remember how everything went so wrong.


Oh! Gives me the shivers!

This recipe was submitted by Heather (MonsterAteMy), and consisted of mayo, tuna, gelatin, and ungodly amount of lemon juice and undiluted (!) cream of chicken soup. And something that doesn’t sound that disgusting right off the bat showed its horrible tendencies once everything was combined.


Awful!!! It was really lemony, really rich and positively stuffed with mayo. To read the whole horror, you can check out the post here.

And, finally, we were almost done.  We only had one recipe left, and had started bickering about which of the 10 or so previous recipes might be considered bad enough for the final spot. There had been some gelatin incidents Tom didn’t enjoy, and a casserole that I had thought was pretty poor. But then we both got a whiff, and a mouthful, of our last finalist, and the decision was out of our hands. After all, no one can argue with…

Finalist #4 – Tuna Upside Down Bake

It’s weird. It contains Veg-All. It’s upside down and the bottom looks like pre-digested dinner.


Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts sent in this baby after she had wrestled with another disgusting vintage Veg-All recipe on her blog. At first I was skeptical, and thought this actually might be pretty good. But then I figured out that the sauce in this dish is made with the juice from the Veg-All can. And that Veg-All contains, among other things, canned celery. It was pretty much all downhill from there. 


It was really, really bad. While I wasn’t moved to tears as I have been by previous dishes, ahem, it was bad enough that I threw a fit about having to eat it and questioned the sanity of even having a blog where we made bad recipes for dinner. And if it makes me question my devotion to vintage recipes, then it’s BAD.

To check out the whole post, go here.

Whew!! And that is it! Congratulations to all of our finalists, who found some of the most hilarious and horrible vintage tuna recipes out there. And thanks to everyone who sent in a submission! It was a lot of fun, and Tom and I had a great time sorting, planning, making and tasting all of the recipes. You guys really are great!!!

And now…to choose a winner!

Voting starts today and ends Tuesday, August 9th. The winner will be announced August 10th. Voters are allowed one vote per 24 hour period, so be sure to rally your friends and family and let them know you are competing for vintage cookbooks. They need to vote! It’s important stuff!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit 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 (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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

  1. veg-o-matic August 3, 2011 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Vote cast! Even if Tuna Pizza doesn’t win, it’s an honor just knowing that I had some small part in making Tom gag.

    I feel like we’ve bonded.

  2. Dan August 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    OK, this was a very tough call. That upside down monstrosity is very terrible. The salad and molded tuna are quite bad. But pizza is sacred. Pizza is great. Pizza is awesome. That recipe should never have been created. It is against all things pizza. It has gotten my vote.

  3. RetroRuth August 5, 2011 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Veg – It’s all about the bonding. Oh, and the gagging. We can’t forget about that part.

    Dan – The pizza was a bit of a sacrilege, wasn’t it? Gah.

  4. Miss Rm August 6, 2011 at 11:02 am - Reply

    So exciting to be a finalist! I’m up against some pretty steep competition here, though. I’m still honoured that the salad was so bad that Tom wrote the post!

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

      Miss RM, the salad was terrible! You should be proud!

  5. Retrochef August 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Man, I picked a bad week to have no internet. (OK, it was AT&T and UPS that worked together on that, really…) “Glad” you “enjoyed” my contribution so much, and what an impressive array of horribleness!

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