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Everyone has an opinion on tuna, even if it’s only “Yecchh!”

Let me state at the beginning that I am talking about tuna as in sandwiches, not the fish sliding through the ocean, not the steak served on a plank at the fancy restaurant down the street, just sandwiches.

I grew up thinking that a tuna sandwich was always made the way my mother did it. Why not? It tasted good, and smelled, well, tuna-y when you opened the lunchbox at school to discover what treasures Mom had put inside. It wasn’t until years later that I ordered a tuna sandwich at a diner and found that it had celery in it. HOW COULD THEY?

So, I’ve done a little research over the years, and it seems that you can almost make a family tree kind of diagram that leads to–or from–the perfect sandwich. A note of caution, here. When describing your own particular tree, make sure your listener is on the same branch, or it could get ugly.

First of all, do you use Solid White Albacore or Chunk Light? I think I’ll throw this question out, because I’ve learned to like both, although I have heard strong comments on both sides.

The next area of discussion is: Mayo or Miracle Whip? Okay, I already hear the voices of those people saying, “What the hell is Miracle Whip?” Generically, you can find versions of MW labelled as “Sandwich Spread”, but I haven’t yet found one with the same not-quite-mayo taste. For the first dichotomy in my tuna tree, I cast a vote for Miracle Whip.

Next, and this is a big one, pickles or relish? You have to be kidding. Pickles, obviously, preferably Del Monte Sweet, chopped just fine enough that you can spread the stuff on the bread and still get a good bit of that sticky, sweet crunch in every bite.

Onions and relish: No, and no. Save these for hot dogs.

Here’s an interesting one. Do you add a leaf of lettuce? The wimpy answer: Maybe. Usually not, because I love tuna by itself. If I’m going to bother with lettuce, I chop up a lot and turn it into a salad (also tasty) and haul a fork out of the drawer. It tastes better when eaten from the mixing bowl, but it’s your choice.

Bread. If I’m in a nostalgic mood, it has to be Wonder White, that fluffy, almost tasteless carrier of not only tuna, but also peanut butter–sometimes with Welch’s Grape Jelly, sometimes with honey or brown sugar (my mother was quite inventive)–or even bologna. For those of you who grew up here in the US, that’s b-o-l-o-g-n-a, First name O-s-c-a-r, last name M-a-y-e-r.  Other times, I like a nice hefty multi-grain, toasted if the toaster happens to be out on the counter already.

I guess that does it. If you disagree, I’m sorry, but keep in mind that this isn’t a guilty sorry but rather a compassionate sorry.

You don’t know what you’re missing.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.