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.