By now you probably have realized that all the canned seafood I ate as a child came to us from Bumble Bee. I actually hadn’t noticed that myself until I added this third image to write about canned shrimp. Sure enough, there is that little cheerful bee on the label.
I wrote last year about my mother’s insistence that I learn how to make white sauce, one of the three skills she thought every girl should master before marriage. The other two, by the way, were how to iron a man’s shirt and how to make turkey gravy. I taught my own daughters none of these things. Anyway, white sauce was the key addition to the drained canned shrimp. Mixed with cooked spaghetti noodles they became “shrimp wiggle.” I liked this dish more than creamed tuna, but shrimp were more expensive than tuna so were served less often.
Needless to say I had no idea what a real shrimp looked like for many years. The only other time I had the shellfish was at a Chinese restaurant we used to go to a couple of times a year. Here we were treated to fried shrimp dipped in hot mustard. We each got one and learned to discard the end sticking out from the batter. I never even realized they were related to those tiny things swimming around in shrimp wiggle.
Many members of my family have deadly allergic reactions to shellfish, so they haven’t featured in my adult life. I am afraid the recipe for shrimp wiggle may lie dormant for years to come along with instructions for white sauce.