International Tour de Force with Breast-O'-Chicken Recipes

Breast-O'-Chicken. The name says... well... tuna, with a serious identity problem, actually. But not just any tuna with a serious identity problem, oh no! This is tuna with a serious identity problem, circa 1949, AND which is brought to you by:

"...A venturesome expedition to waters where this aristocrat of game fish, the fighting tuna, tests the skill of brawny men, so that the tables of the nation may enjoy a sea food which has no equal in flavor, nourishment and versatility!"

Gosh, I can almost see the American flag waving, can you? Bless you, oh Brawny Fishermen for risking life and limb to bring tuna, which thinks it's barnyard fowl, to my family's table!

And when the Breast-O'-Chicken folks talk versatility, they mean it! In Breast-'O-Chicken Brand Tuna Recipes by Frank Decatur White, we will journey to the ends of the earth and see exciting ways to tame the fighting tuna into a delicious, nutritious, versatile and oh-so-international cuisine.

Let us start by stepping South of the Border, with "Breast-O'-Chicken Mexican Pie"...

Mmm-mmm! Put on your sombreros, mi amigos, and dig in to this muy delicioso combination of American Cheese, tomatoes, tuna, chili powder, red beans and corn meal.

What--? Didn't you know American cheese was an important ingredient in all things Mexican? Well, Mexico is after all in North America, isn't it? American cheese is clearly for everyone.

And you know how our compadres in Mexico love to use tuna in all their traditional dishes. Gosh, enter any true Mexican restaurant and you'll be treated to a wide array of dishes featuring none other than our friend, the aristocratic fighting tuna.

Tuna tacos... tuna burritos.... tunachangas... The beef and chicken and refried beans we instantly think of when we think of Mexican food is, in fact, just a myth. Tuna really is what makes our brothers and sisters to the south say, "Olé!"

And what about our friends across the waters in Asia? Have they not experienced the protein-filled goodness that is canned tuna? Why, yes, they have! With "Tuna Oriental"!...

What makes this so gosh-darned Oriental is the exotic, Far East flavor of... um.... peas... Er, and... panfried bacon... And.... tomato soup? And... mushrooms?...

Hm. Well, I can probably stick to sight-seeing when I go to China next, since apparently they eat everything we eat over here.

Oh, wait! Chow mein noodles! It's served over Chow Mein noodles. That's totally "oriental"! Now, that makes it all worthwhile.

Ah, but Breast-O'-Chicken has another Asian dish for us today. Just look at this appetizing "Tuna Chop Suey" which does not in any way appear to have fly larvae hatching in it...

Of course, this features a tin of our beloved Breast-O'-Chicken fancy tuna... But it also involves mushrooms, bamboo sprouts, celery, green peppers, soy sauce and... veal. I hadn't known veal was big over China, but apparently that's another tid-bit of information to broaden my cultural knowledge.

Gosh, these Breast-O'-Chicken folks sure are worldy, aren't they?

So now, we find ourselves heading to Europe, spirited off to one of the finest bistros of Paris. And what have we here? Why, ooh-la-la! Mouths will water over this "Souffle O'Tuna"...

Did you know the "o'" is used regularly in the French language? It is! We here in America typically misspell it as "au." But the real spelling, "o'" harkens back to a little-discussed Celtic invasion of the area now known as France. The Irish and French just don't like to talk about it.

Well, now, let's head back to the good ol' US of A, South of the Mason-Dixon line, and enjoy a nice heaping plate of "Cutlets of Tuna Southern-Style"...

These are cutlets hand-formed with love by you, from chunks and flakes of tuna-- isn't that clever? And the key ingredient in seasoning them is... Worchestershire Sauce! Perhaps they should have gotten together with the Lea & Perrins people for a nice cross-over cookbook.

I suppose when they said Southern, they were meaning Southern England-- what do you think?

Crimeny, these dears at Breast-O'-Tuna just keep making our world seem bigger and bigger, don't they?

Now, in honor of those Brawny Fisherman we were talking about earlier, Breast-O'-Tuna gives us this tribute recipe-- "Tuna Planked Steak."

This savory dish includes several tins of tuna, peas, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, milk and--- surprise-- spiced peaches! A veritable smorgasbord all in a single fish-shaped dish. I simply don't know how they come up with these mind-blowing ideas.

And just when I think we've done all that can be done with tuna, the Breast-O'-Chicken people outdo themselves once more. Like with these "Tuna City Chicken Legs..."

Why buy actual chicken which has chicken legs, when you can use your artisic talents to take a tin of fancy tuna and mold it into chicken leg shapes? It seems so obvious once they've said it, which is why we all need recipe books like this.

Arrange the molded legs into an appetizing wagon wheel shape, and then put hominy in the center, just to tie it all together. Pour onion gravy over everything!

Now, here, it might just look like the red tide's gone out in the Everglades.... But this is, in fact, "Tuna Eggplant Cutlets."

These little islands of edibles are a unique combination of eggplant, potato chips and tuna. The coloring is paprika-- apparently LOTS of paprika.

And don't forget to garnish with lemon slices! (The photographer here apparently did.)

Now what if you have to make some quick hors d'oeuvres for guests and you don't have much on hand? Well, a single tin of Breast-O'-Chicken tuna will allow you to make this eye-popping party platter....

Combine tuna with 7 hard-cooked eggs, salad dressing, bacon, olives and our nutritious friend PEANUT BUTTER and you won't have to worry about short-notice guests ever again.

No really.

You won't.


Lastly, it's Sunday, right? And you want to treat the family to a nice Sunday dinner. Why not try the "Tuna Sunday Supper"?...

Just arrange the following ingredients into "Kilroy Was Here" faces on bread: tuna, mushrooms "little pig sausages," parsley and a thick white sauce.

Yesindeedy, that's some serious stick-to-your-ribs (and possibly spackle your drywall) home cookin'.

Well, I hope you all learned as much as I did today about the versatility and adventure associated with fancy tuna. I think it's good for us to educate ourselves like this and truly expand our horizons.

Tonight, I think I'll try that Breast-O'-Chicken Mexican pie. I've got some American cheese and tomato sauce in there just waiting to become high International cuisine.

Hasta luego, mi amigos!


Jen said...

I can't even tell you how much I enjoy these bits of hilariousness that you share with us from days of yore.

Just love it!

Lana Gramlich said...

OMG! Tuna and peanut butter??? I want to puke at the very thought!
Thanks for today's laugh. I needed that. The post makes me particularly glad that I took out actual breast o' chicken for dinner tonight.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Jen- Oh, I'm really glad. It's always so much fun to see what lurks in the cookbooks and pamphlets of our past.

Lana- That is precisely what I said when I read that-- Tuna, bacon and peanut butter. Good gad. Yes, actually, I'm having chicken myself. Real chicken. Not tuna molded into chicken either.

Suddenly, I am feeling very, very grateful. :)

Shirley said...

I am not this adventurous. Yuck! Tuna salad sandwhich is as far as I go. I just want a nice roller coaster that isn't half as adventurous.

Da Old Man said...

It took 5 minutes before I could compose myself enough to type a comment.

I like eggplant. I like tuna. I like potato chips. The thought of combining them after seasoning them with paprika? Set the barf o' meter to high.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Shirley- So I take it you won't be out on the ships with those brawny fishermen adventuring to find and catch the fighting yet aristocratic tuna? :)

Da Old Man- It really is a super-special level of "ick," isn't it?

Shirley said...

Lol! I'm allergic to seafood but for some strange reason tuna is all I can eat as far as seafood goes. I don't even like tuna!

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Shirley- I suppose this cookbook then isn't suddenly going to make you a tuna lover, is it? :)

Carrie said...

It's a delight to see this array of recipes for the lowly tuna fish!
What fun you have looking over these vintage cookery books...

Jenn Thorson said...

Carrie- Ah, there's just so many ways to, um, elevate the lowly tuna to new heights.... Some of them not even involving gelatin! :)

MizSmoochieLips said...

I especially love the fabulous photo content of these mouth watering bits of scrumptiousness. Because seriously, the black and white effect makes it appear oh so tasty, heh heh

chyna said...

I love tuna as much as the next guy but those recipes just make me ill!!!!

Jay2TheRescue said...

Well, I just thought I didn't like tuna, but now that it has been presented to me as such an aristocratic, worldly food I have been totally nauseated and I vow to never eat tuna again!



Thrift Shop Romantic said...

MizSmoochieLips- Ah yes, like the work of Ansel Adams, black and white lends so much drama to foods as well as nature. :)

Chyna- Yes, I'm fairly pro-tuna myself, but the Tuna Oriental, and that hors doeuvre with the peanut butter about did me in.

Jay- *snicker* I guess you are now considered officially off the tuna boat... er, bandwagon. Bandwagon.

kamlavati said...

I love prawns, fresh prawns get cooked easily and have delicious taste.