My father came to the U.S. in his early adulthood – an immigrant from the coastal country of Perú – with big dreams for his life, an innate curiosity about nature, Science, and the world around him, and a great love for seafood. My mother, a mix of German, Austrian, Irish, and Native American ancestry, is a confessed carnivore — she relishes the experience of chewing meat, sucking the flavor from bones, and being able to sample the rare and highly-prized meat delicacies of the globe — this includes those that make their life below water’s surface. And then there’s me — I have vague memories as a child of eating shrimp, lobster, and other fishy things, but something happened along the way. I think when my taste and texture palates developed, they sent signals to my brain further excluding anything which had lived in water from my “like” food list.
As a child I often tested the limits of my mother’s patience, out-waiting and out-stubborning her with a plate of fish on my plate, and no desire, nor intention, whatsoever of eating it. I didn’t care about the rumblies in my tummy — I could not bear the texture and taste of those scaly-covered creatures. One finned friend, however, did sometimes make it to the “like” list — usually this was during the season of Lent at my Catholic school. At the time I didn’t really understand why, but often when other lunch menu options were no longer available, suddenly the tuna sandwich was — so, I ordered it. Was it was the presence of mayonnaise, bread, relish, onions, celery? I don’t know. I just know that I didn’t mind eating tuna sandwiches.
Flash forward about five or six years and I was now teaching English in a rural rice-farming (I thank God, not fishing) village in Japan. Fortunately, although my palate had not matured, my cultural sensitivity had — I was determined to try everything on my plate at least once. I ate fish head, I ate little translucent fish, I ate fish with eyes, and I ate lots more fish in other forms. I can’t say that I enjoyed it, and often I got sick to my stomach, but I tried it all. About six months into my first year (I was there for three) I noticed on a Sunday evening while brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed that my wrists and stomach were kind of itchy. When I awoke the following morning the small areas of itchiness had exploded in growth and covered most of my body. I learned a new Japanese term — “jinmashin” or hives. Although the experience of recovering from hives is not one of my favorite, the gift that came with it was well worth it. After visiting the doctor it was determined that I was allergic to certain varieties of sealife – and that I had probably eaten one fish or another at my Sunday church lunch. From this point forward I could politely let people know (and in a small rural village, most found out quickly anyway) that I had allergies to fish and would sadly (well, not really) not be able to partake of the seafood options. Fortunately, although contrary to wide-held belief, Japan offers all kinds of culinary delicacies that have nothing to do with fish. I was happily sustained on all the many other food choices.
Needless to say, I am not a big fan of fish. Every so often I am tempted — like that time when I was reading “Angela’s Ashes” and just had to see what all the fish and chips fuss was about. And for whatever reason, my body decides every so often (and lately it is more often) that it wants tuna. So I buy the little tin can filled with water and tuna (and which, might I add, resembles nothing of the creature from which it came) mix it up with some mayo, yummy, yummy relish (I love the dill pickled relish, but am such a fan that it doesn’t matter sweet, dill, or other), some pepper, maybe some raw onions, celery — the works! On my latest favorite — Orowheat Sandwich Thins — loaded with fiber (5g), and not so much with fat (1g) and calories (100), the tuna sandwich is a true classic, very easy, and absolutely tasty — even in my humble non-fish-loving opinion.
And as always, for fellow weight-watchers – the total Points value for this number (will vary depending on your mayo and bread, and additional toppings) is 3.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Orowheat Sandwich Thin – 1 serving – 1 Point
- Trader Joe’s tuna in water – 1 serving – 1 Point
- Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat mayo – 1 serving – 1 Point
- Heinz Dill Relish – 1 serving – 0 Points
- (Optional) Trader Joe’s Lite Swiss or Lite Havarti Cheese – 1 serving – (Add 2 Points)