“Canned Fish 1”

Despite the fact that my father liked to fish, the only time I ever ate fresh fish was on camping trips. All of the other fish I ate growing up was either canned or frozen. I ate tuna fish. A lot of tuna fish. Tuna fish sandwiches with tuna mixed with mayonnaise(never Miracle Whip.) Tuna noodle casserole with tuna mixed with white sauce. Creamed tuna on toast, the same mixture poured on toast. Scalloped tuna, the same mixture baked in artificial scallop shells giving it the fancy name.

Fortunately we lived only 90 miles from a gigantic tuna packing facility, the Bumble Bee cannery in Astoria, Oregon. In fact until the “sorry Charlie” tuna ads ran for Chicken of the Sea tuna I never knew any other tuna existed. Bumble Bee frequently went on sale at five cans for a dollar instead of the usual four cans for a dollar. Needless to say, my mother had us pile cans in the cart at such times. We NEVER ran out of tuna fish at our house.

Of course times have changed dramatically in the intervening years. The abandoned cannery has been transformed into the Cannery Pier Hotel and Spa. Tuna fish now costs nearly $2 for a can now 1 1/2 ounces smaller than the one of my childhood. Tuna sandwiches with confetti topped toothpicks and a side of pickle and chips now seem unusual, save in a “retro” lunch spot.

But for many years if you had asked anyone in Oregon to name a brand of tuna fish, she would have answered “Bumble Bee.” And it would have been in her sack lunch at least a couple of times a week.

37 thoughts on ““Canned Fish 1”

  1. I grew up eating all kinds of fish since my dad brought it home from work – he worked in cold storage – and my grandpa had a shrimp boat on Hood Canal. Unfortunately I didn’t appreciate it. In fact I probably liked a tuna sandwich better. And it’s interesting you mention the Cannery. We had a lovely stay there a couple years ago.


  2. I didn’t acquire a taste for fish until much later in life, but that hasn’t translated to tuna fish yet. One of the blessings of living right along the Pacific Ocean is that there is so much fresh fish.


  3. I had never heard of Tuna fish, until I married for the first time, in 1977. I hated the taste and smell of it, refused to finish the sandwich I had been given, and have never eaten any since. My current wife loves it, and so does Ollie. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.


  4. I enjoy tuna, we grew up with tinned tuna, salmon & sardines here in Australia.
    The only fresh fish was when Dad went fishing which was very rare. Or when we had the rare treat of take away fish & chips on an annual holiday by the sea (which was staying with extended family).

    I still cook Tuna mornay with rice each fortnight & we enjoy tuna & mayonnaise with salad often ๐Ÿ˜€
    I also make fish cakes with tinned tuna with a homecooked cheese sauce or mayonnaise for dinner accompanied by cooked vegs or salad.

    You took me back to my childhood today Elizabeth, happy memories ๐Ÿ˜€


  5. I never got into tuna as a kid, I don’t think we had it in stores, but there were sardines and herrings usually in tomato sauce. Then it became trendy and up until recently I ate a lot of tuna – very small cans and quite pricey – I think more to pay for the can…


  6. Sounds like our childhood diets were similar. Tuna noodle casserole is still a favourite but more often than that we’d have “tuna wiggle” for dinner (or even in the school’s lunch): canned tuna in white sauce with peas served on toast (at home) or instant mashed potatoes (at school).

    We still eat lots of fish though canned tuna is hardly eaten. Fish curry, sushi, grilled fish or if I’m feeling fancy, seared tuna (not from a can! *laughing*) are more common.

    Thanks to you I now have this song in my head, also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky53zmbIyec


  7. Damn, now I want a tuna sandwich and I blame you. Boo hoo. Also, a summer staple for my family is penne pasta with a little tomato sauce, tuna, cherry tomatoes and green olives. Pretty quick and easy to make and pretty good too. Thought I’d share just in case!

    Take care!


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