Rosy Tuna Ring – A Mid-Century Recipe Test

Posted on Sep 21 2011 - 6:36am by RetroRuth

Guess what??? It’s another tuna recipe!!! Are you excited? Are you pumped? Are you retching with glee???

Well…maybe you are just retching. Going over all these pictures, I am getting a little gaggy myself.

Anyway, this is another submission for our recent contest, “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna”, which was a rousing success. And actually somewhat of a surprise.  When we started getting recipes, I thought all of them would be terrible. The recipes just looked horrific, and everyone here was making little gasping sounds of terror every time I opened a new email submission. (Okay, I was the one gasping with terror. I think the cats were actually just purring.) But as we started making them, weird things started happening. It turned out that a lot of mid-century tuna recipes weren’t really that bad.

I know, I was shocked too.

So, I have a bunch of tuna recipes to show you that we tested, and found to be actually edible. Some were even just shy of being “tasty”.

The first of these “somewhat less than tasty” recipes comes from our friend Eartha Kitsch (author of Ranch Dressing With Eartha Kitsch and previous winner of our Worst Recipe Contest), who sent us this fun thing:



Hey Ruth,

Has anyone entered this recipe yet? If not, I’d like to enter
it. I love that it is a mold. Always pretty and interesting.
The Tuna Ring is from “Better Homes & Gardens – Lunches and Brunches”
from 1963. Sorry for the wonky photo of the glorious Tuna Ring. They
put the illustration right in the fold of the book.



Oh man, Eartha, you can really pick ‘em! I have to admit. I was terrified of this one. Just terrified. I thought it was all going to end in gagging and tears and then maybe some more gagging. After all, that is what happened last time Eartha sent us something. Though, that might have just been the trauma talking. This one was a significant improvement in that it contained no disgusting and floppy animal tongues. Which is always a HUGE improvement.

Speaking of improvement, I have been trying to think of a way to raise the intellectual level of this blog*.

*totally a lie

In that vein, instead of boring descriptions of the pictures, I am going to be using literary quotes to enlighten us and to help us to ascend to the next level of higher functioning.

Plus, I’m too tired right now to think of more funny stuff*.

*75% true

So, as Homer Simpson would say:

All right, brain, I don’t like you and you don’t like me – so let’s just do this and I’ll get back to killing you with beer


He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast in his heart.
– C. S. Lewis



My greatest strength is… common sense. I’m really a standard brand – like Campbell’s tomato soup or Baker’s chocolate.

~ Katharine Hepburn


One thing should be noted: Directions in many old books assumed that a cook knew how to mix ingredients, what size pan to use, at what temperature and how long different foods should be baked/cooked.

~ Sue Gates


I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.

~ Rodney Dangerfield


And yeah, Jim, this is the time to stop putting Dwight’s personal effects into Jell-O

Michael, The Office



And then, much, much later came the extraordinary concept of  coleslaw and Jell-O in a fish mold. What the @#&% is the matter with somebody when they think:  “Whoo! That’ll be appetizing!” How drunk would you had to have been? “What the #$%^’s left? I feel like eatin’ some more. Oh, that yellow Jell-O and that coleslaw in the fish mold, that’s gonna make my day! I’m smacking my lips just thinking about it.”

Lewis Black

How’s that?  Feel enlightened? Sort of?

Well, I tried.

But this should make you feel better:


Yeah. That’s right. I made a gif of Tom tasting this crazy rosy tuna thing. That way you can feel like you are right here with us, watching Tom be brave and choke down the first bite. Yum!

The Verdict: Strange. Not horrible, but not great either.  It basically tasted like tuna salad. You honestly couldn’t even taste the tomato soup, which was a shocker for me and also an enormous relief. In the end, we spread it on slices of toast and gulped it down.



Thanks for sending in a fun recipe Eartha. It was chilling and thrilling AND it was good.

You are forgiven for the tongue incident.

For reals.

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

  1. Lexi September 23, 2011 at 12:49 am - Reply

    You are my hero.

    • RetroRuth September 23, 2011 at 9:07 am - Reply

      Ha ha! Thanks, Lexi! But Tom is the real hero, he is the one who always tastes first!

      And I am still coming up with a suitable dare for you. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten!

  2. Zac September 26, 2011 at 4:08 am - Reply

    I’m always just a little bit disappointed when the horribly inappropriate ingredient doesn’t completely ruin the dish. What good is the tomato soup if it isn’t gonna make you wanna vomit when you eat it?

    • RetroRuth September 26, 2011 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Zac, it was kind of a disappointment in a crazy way. “What? I went through all this work and it only tastes like tuna salad? Bah!”

  3. Jean Gill October 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I still make this, I grew up with it and ate it in the sixties and seventies. My mom is ninety and still living.

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