27 February, 2009

Happy Birthday John!

Many of you will be familiar with the annual tussle between my beloved and me. As February 27 approaches, my daily query, "What are you in the mood for, for dinner?" gets the response more and more frequently, "Tuna casserole." I know what you're thinking. Something unprintable, probably. I myself am devoted to tuna. It's as likely as not to find me eating tuna salad - with pine nuts, lemon zest, sunflower seeds, chick peas, loads of celery - three times a week for lunch. But HOT tuna? No. Tuna steaks, perhaps. But to open a can of tuna and make it HOT? It's tantamount to cooking cat food. But every February, the topic comes up.

It's a cherished childhood classic for John (thanks, Rosemary!). And every once in awhile over the past 20 years or so I have caved. My sister patiently provided the recipe one year, and it was completely successful, in that it was completely repulsive. Hot tuna! Then there was the year that I agreed silently to make it as a surprise... to greet him when he returned from a long business trip on his birthday... and the surprise was supplanted by an even more important one: I found out I was expecting Avery. On his birthday! On that occasion we were so overcome that I never thought to cook the noodles ahead of baking the casserole, and every SNICK of liquid from the tuna and the canned mushroom soup (I know, I know) was absorbed by them and the consistency of the whole dish somewhere between wet woolen socks and drying clay. You can imagine. Only also SMELLY.

Well, today I gave in once more. Would you believe there's a video on how to make tuna casserole? I really think you should watch it, if only for the sound effects: wait till the end when the cook tips the noxious mixture into the baking dish. The sucking sound is like some primeval mud letting go a treasured fossil, while it was still wet and alive.

So be it.

He is my treasured husband, albeit with highly questionable taste buds. He ate fully half the finished dish for lunch, which, as one of my best friends pointed out, "solves half of THAT problem." He can eat the other half for lunch tomorrow. And the debate is over for another year. Happy Birthday, my dear.


Renée said...

Don't like hot tuna. In the 70's, there was a musical group called Hot Tuna. Didn't like them either.

Becky said...

Oh, the things we do for our husbands! I know John must have been so appreciative of you cooking his favorite. Now if only my husband's request was as easy to deliver! xBecky

Kristen In London said...

Oh, Renee, you make me laugh: years ago in the Seychelles, I bought a bikini with a little label on it that said... "Hot Tuna"!!

And Becky, you've been in our thoughts all day... yes indeed, let's just find out Mark's favorite dish and say you'll make it every day of the year if he never asks for anything else (well, almost anything!)... even if it involves Hot Tuna!

Bonnie said...

We used to call Tuna Noodle Bake .... Hopalong Casserole in honor or being able to eat it in front of the television on Friday nights on our little TV trays while watching our favorite cowboy star Hopalong Cassidy. He was dressed all in black - and riding a beautiful white horse named Topper. Thanks for good memories of the 1950's. Bonnie

Kristen In London said...

Bonnie, that is such a cute story. Glad we could bring back a happy memory, albeit with Hot Tuna!