A Pot Luck Dilemma - Ellen's Tastes Blog at Allrecipes.com - 219110

Ellen's Tastes

A Pot Luck Dilemma 
Jan. 24, 2011 7:03 am 
Updated: Feb. 3, 2011 5:06 am
Hubby and I own a small park model in a large resort in Florida, having fled New Hampshire before the first snowfall. This particular resort is so large there are neighborhoods within the park and there's a very sweet lady in our 'hood who likes to plan gatherings that will bring the neighbors together for eating, drinking, and socializing. The next gathering, which is a pot luck, is scheduled for 5:00 pm this coming Wednesday... as in the day after tomorrow.

If you've been following earlier blogs, you know I've been on an anti-inflammation diet, using the following guidelines: no wheat, no dairy, no red meat, and no wine. So far I've only cheated a few times (the wine part), but mainly I've behaved and am feeling the benefits of less pain and more energy.

And thus I was faced with the choice of making an anti-inflammation pot luck dish or making something that would endear me to my neighbors forevermore. I struggled for days, wondering if I could make quinoa taste like macaroni and cheese or Swiss meatballs (always favorites at these kinds of things) but, in truth, I knew at the start that winning hearts with a vegan dish wasn't likely, particularly considering the fact that our neighbors are mostly in their 80s and don't care whether or not they're eating healthy foods. So I turned, instead, to the the ultimate in comfort food: a dish my mom made which she called "Linda's Tuna Bake".

The fact that I'd left my recipe for Linda's dish in New Hampshire didn't strike me as a problem: I'd just do a Google search and it would magically appear. That was an erroneous assumption. It turns out there's  a woman named Linda who's got a recipe for Tuna Casserole which has gone viral across the web. I can't tell you how many times I started reading new sites only to find the same Linda with the same tuna casserole and, although I'm sure it's tasty, it's not what mom made. 

After hours (covering several days time) I finally had a burst of Google inspiration: I put the name of the recipe in quotes and within seconds I was staring at it, just as I'd seen it dozens of times when I was a kid. Someone named Tim had the presence of mind, and a heart of gold, to post it (if not also a heart in danger of being endangered by clogged arteries). You can find Linda's Tuna Bake at http://cookbooks.tjrecipes.com/mom/Entrees/page15.jpg).<

If you take a look at the ingredients, you'll note a liberal use of butter, milk, sour cream, and mayonnaise, along with some veggies and tuna and a bunch of crispy Chinese noodles.

But here's the thing about Linda's Tuna Bake: it's addictive. Once you start eating, you can't stop. Of course you TRY to stop... you know it can't be good for you... but it's oh-so-very-tasty... maybe just one more bite... oh my, maybe just a bit more... yummy.

So here's my plan: I'll eat a vat of quinoa at 4:45 on Wednesday, and will bring Linda's Tuna Bake to the pot luck gathering with hopes my neighbors will eat every bit of it, leaving me with nary a left over, thereby satiating their taste buds without re-inflamming my body. Hey, a girl can hope ;)

Jan. 24, 2011 10:11 am
Good luck with the Pot Luck. My SIL has RA and she often "pre-eats" in order to avoid problem foods. Personally, I would have trouble resisting something that I knew I would LOVE. I would probably make a chocolate cake - which I really dislike and then wouldn't be tempted. :)
Jan. 24, 2011 1:04 pm
Nana, I know what you mean. Your reasoning is at the crux of my dilemma. I didn't mention that I've been told there aren't many entrees brought to these things (lots of desserts) and they're hoping to improve on that this year. That, and my diet goals, are what threw me into a dither. I'm looking at it as a test of my character ;)
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About Me
I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and still have my first (very battered) cookbook. Other than cooking, I adore interior design, writing, and playing bridge. Oh... and tasting new wines (or old favorites).
My favorite things to cook
As I've grown older, my tastes and philosophy have changed. I now use organic ingredients whenever I can, and I prefer using unprocessed ingredients.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Well, my mother (bless her) had 8 people to feed, so she made foods that were easy to prepare. My favorites were her baked ribs with barbecue sauce; english muffins topped with cheese, tomato, and bacon, and then broiled; and spaghetti noodles with tomato soup and cheddar cheese stirred in. I wouldn't make these dishes today, but they're full of fond memories.
My cooking triumphs
Adding orange juice to diced tomato sauce • Adding Cointreau to fresh fruit salads or a chocolate sauce • Adding tequila and bittersweet chocolate to chili • "poaching" salmon in orange juice, sprinkled with Old Bay and tarragon • adding cidar vinegar and soy sauce to vegetable soups • adding fresh mint to steamed red potatoes • knowing how to bail out a botched dish (example: over-steamed broccoli mashed with bleu or swiss cheese isn't nearly as bad as over-steamed broccoli on it's own).
My cooking tragedies
Over-steaming broccoli and most any other veggie... and a lasagna that was so loaded with oregano, no one could eat it.
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