Mac and tuna: Ah, culinary bliss!

The outside thermometer is starting to drop, so it’s time to start talking about piping hot “comfort foods.” Below is my recipe for one of my favorite cold-weather meals; macaroni and tuna fish. Allow me to set the stage:

I grew up in a Catholic family way back in the days when the church forbade eating meat on Fridays year-round under threat of mortal sin.* Occasionally on Fridays, my Dad would pick up some fried fish and fries at Karl’s Fish Market at 1314 Culver Road in Rochester, but that was an expensive proposition with six hungry kids at home. More often than not, our non-meat Friday dinner was “macaroni and tuna fish,” aka “mac and tuna.” My Mom was not one to put a lot of effort into her cooking; it was all pretty basic stuff. Whereas most people, like my wife’s mother, dolled up this humble dish by sprinkling bread crumbs on top, baking it in the oven, and calling it “tuna noodle casserole,” my Mom characteristically served it “no frills” straight out of the saucepan.

Boy, I loved me some macaroni and tuna fish when I was a kid! I even dreamed of someday opening my own restaurant and serving nothing but mac and tuna. I confidently presumed it would easily be the most popular restaurant in town!

I still enjoy a hot bowl of mac and tuna and have fine-tuned the recipe over the years. My wife is strangely not a fan, but I’ll occasionally make it for myself. Enjoy!

Tom’s Mac and Tuna

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. elbow macaroni (if you use the entire 16 oz box of macaroni, you’ll need to increase the following ingredients proportionately)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • One 10.5 oz. can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • One 5 oz. can albacore tuna fish, drained
  • One 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/8 tsp. celery salt
  • a couple of generous shakes of black pepper

In 3QT saucepan, boil macaroni according to instructions. Drain and return to pan. Add milk, mushroom soup, tuna fish, mushrooms, celery salt, and pepper. Stir.

For variety, you can add peas, diced onion, or diced celery.

*In 1966, the Vatican allowed the bishops of each country to collectively decide whether to continue mandatory abstention of meat on non-Lenten Fridays. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opted to discontinue the practice and issued a statement to that effect on November 18, 1966. Curious minds want to know what happened to American Catholics who had defiantly eaten meat on non-Lenten Fridays and died prior to November 18, 1996? Did the U.S. bishops issue them a “Get Out of Hell Free” card?

14 thoughts on “Mac and tuna: Ah, culinary bliss!

  1. Wow, you’ve really stirred my appetite! I love winter and all the warming stews, soups, and cheesey dishes. Just made a stew with sausage, pumpkin, black beans and spinach…ah, so good! 😋
    Happy cooking brother, God bless you, your wife and your kitchen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all your good comments, Lisa Beth, and Lord bless you and yours, too!

      That stew sounds excellent! I had been jonesing for M&T for awhile and wrote that post right after making a batch. So good!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll have to read more of this later but this stood out to me: “I grew up in a Catholic family way back in the days when the church forbade eating meat on Fridays year-round under threat of mortal sin.” It seems so arbitrary at times Romanism’s rule and also it contradicts the New Testament this dietary restriction

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was only ten-years-old when they ended the obligatory abstention for non-Lenten Fridays but I can remember the discussions about how strangely inconsistent and arbitrary the new ruling was. But no one complained because we suddenly had the freedom to eat meat on Fridays. Maybe only person who objected was Karl, owner of the fish market.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Maybe only person who objected was Karl, owner of the fish market” 😂
        We still adhered to eating only fish on Fridays-more so as a tradition…which I’m not sure what good that tradition was (or is for others now!).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A couple of months ago, I listened to a sermon on the Bible, by this priest on an EWTN channel here . The entire sermon was appalling to say the least, but around 23:30, he mentioned that eating meat on Fridays was a small “t” tradition, i.e. a custom, not a big “T” Tradition. Then why in the world was it considered a mortal sin if this were only a custom? LOL

    By the way, this sermon seemed like one big polemic to cut down sola scriptura. It might make a good blog post in the future if you’d like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, SB. This arbitrary rule about abstention of meat is so anti-Scriptural and even inane in light of the 1966 change. Thanks for the audio. I’ll give it a listen. I’m not currently able to listen to Catholic apologist Anders as I used to (too much on my plate).

      Like

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