Not to quote Ella Fitzgerald, but far be it from me to complain about the heat wave we’ve been having this past week. Because I know August is right around the corner, which means it won’t be light at 5 in the morning, the apple orchard will soon open, and in a mere six months Christmas will be over. Since I work in an air-conditioned office, most evenings are tolerable, but last week it was not. I sat on the porch sweating in the shade, hoping for a bit of a breeze that didn’t come and my glass filled to the top with ice quickly melted. During heat like this, coffee and tea become a cocktail served on ice in the morning, and throughout the day the appetite slows and little nibbles instead of meals tend to be the norm.
During this latest heat wave, I was reminded of how I loved to go over to eat at my best friend’s house when I was growing up. At the time, her mom’s cooking seemed exotic; she put green peppers in her spaghetti sauce (which I still love), had large blocks of cheddar cheese we would eat with raisins (something I still eat to this day), and on really hot evenings, like we’ve been having, we’d eat tuna sandwiches for dinner. At my house, I remember eating sandwiches for dinner only when we’d return home from vacation and the larder was empty. Supper those nights always was scrambled eggs on toast with ketchup.
My mom made her tuna salad with celery and Hellmann’s mayo (“Best Foods” for my West Coast readers), but my friend’s mom’s salad was different: a little hard-boiled egg, onion, celery, and Cains mayonnaise. I would happily munch on my sandwich, intrigued by the flavors as they melded with the tuna. This time of year, I always have a couple of cans of tuna fish, salmon, or crabmeat on hand in the cupboard for an easy (and cheap!) meal that requires nothing more than a can opener, a knife, a spoon, and a bowl. I always serve it on greens, never as a sandwich. In the winter when I’m yearning for a bit of summer and something quick to eat after the gym, I’ll whip up a bowl of tuna fish salad in the morning so it’s ready to eat when we get home. Usually it’s just celery, but sometimes I go back in time and add in a little chopped egg and onion, depending on my mood.
As in true Vermont fashion, our short heat wave has passed, and the tuna salad will be relegated back to lunch instead of dinner. It’s now cool enough to turn on the stove; I’m roasting chicken tonight.