Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Tuna Cutlets aka Tuna Cakes

I'm an oil brat. Or, more specifically, I'm an ARAMCO brat. I grew up in Saudi Arabia where my dad worked for the Arabian American Oil Company, or ARAMCO.  We lived in Arabia from 1971 to 1987, so basically all my school-college years. 

We lived in an American compound that was as close to being an American small town as you can get in a foreign country. Dhahran, the main ARAMCO town, occupies so many square miles that you never even really felt enclosed in a compound.  I would say that the size of Dhahran would probably be equal to the size of the City of Rocklin. 

We had American schools, a theater, bowling alley, public library, pools, baseball fields, and more. What we didn't have was shopping. We had to go into Al-Khobar, the nearby Saudi city, to go shopping for everything except for food. Groceries were bought from our camp commissary, similar to a military commissary. 

as I remember it, circa 1980
Recently our ARAMCO Brat organization came upon some historical commissary newsletters. A throwback look at life in the past. They asked if anyone would be willing to blog some of the recipes and I volunteered. First up, a recipe for Tuna Cutlets from the March 20, 1978 commissary newsletter.  Actually, I have no idea why they were called cutlets as these are pretty much the equivalent of crab cakes, just made with canned tuna. 

These were pretty good.  I like them. And it's funny that I've never had these before, and yet they transported me back in time to 1978 and living overseas. 

How?  Because it brought back a time when we had very limited food items. Think about today and how many thousands of products line our grocery shelves. How much processed and packaged food there is now. Back in 1978 food was simpler.  And by being overseas, we were even more limited to what we had available.  Here was taking simple canned tuna and creating a meal from it with a few, whole ingredients.

I used a fresh jalapeno (the green you see) and I also whipped up a simple Sriracha aioli by mixing together some mayo, Sriracha sauce  and lime juice.  A tasty treat with a bit of kick.

Oh, and since I'm single, I froze the pre-cooked patties so I could have them for later dinners. That makes this recipe an even bigger winner for me! 

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