Thursday, January 14, 2016

From the Misc. Foods Aisle - Tuna Twist

Product: Tuna Twist
Company: Nabisco
Years: 1976



"I'm Sir Celery, I'm Ms. Parsley, We are the Onion Twins...
We're...in....Tuna Twist, a tuna taste, fresh as the garden"

Let me just start off by coming clean: I think Tuna is disgusting. It smells bad, it tastes bad, and the seafood industry wants you to believe that it's this wonderful high class product, when it's actually, in my opinion, the seafood version of Spam. Cheap, canned, and oh so gross. (There goes my big Tuna/Spam sponsorship money......)

I have to say, though, that I was intrigued the other day when I stumbled upon a product that I had never heard of in my life, called Tuna Twist. The product, made by Nabisco in 1976, was a "meal extender", which is a fancy term for "this is all the food we have in the house until next payday, so we need to make it last". Basically, it was seasoning packets that was to be added to tuna salad that somehow magically made your pound of tuna turn into a pound and a half.

Witchcraft? We can't be certain.

Actually, the packets contained textured vegetable protein. Remember this. It will be important later on.

Tuna Twist came in 3 flavors: Onion, Cheddar, and Italian.
"We are giving the consumer a way of adding variety to her tuna. Most housewives just don't take the time to do things like take an onion, dice it, and add it to the tuna, themselves". Stated a Nabisco Representative - From a newspaper article from July 27 1976.



This product was launched in the summer of 1976, and was going to be the new big thing in stores and kitchens around the country. Heck, they even had a commercial with dancing vegetables.....




But it turned out there was a problem.
That textured vegetable protein I mentioned earlier? Yeah....about that...
..it was making people sick. Lots of people.

So only a few months after it's launch, there was a recall on the product, and Tuna Twist was pulled from all store shelves. Considering that I couldn't find any advertisements or coupons from any year other then 1976, I'm pretty sure it never returned.

Did it ever come back? That's where I need your help. Do you remember eating Tuna Twist later then 1976? And can you be certain it was in fact, Nabisco Tuna Twist, and not some knockoff that came later.

You know, a product that had a name like Tuna Tonight! (and Tomorrow night...and the night after that....), or "Totally Tuna! (made with 92% Vegetable Protein). If you remember it, let me know below.

And as for the commercial - here you go. Watch 4 tuna sandwiches turn into 6!
(She's a witch! Burn her!)






49 comments:

  1. Welcome back, I hope you had a nice Christmas and New Years..

    Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, ARE YOU CRAZY? Tuna is awesome!! Especially when it's eaten with olive oil and sprinkled with lemon.

    Also, I think this would have failed even without the recall because tuna doesn't need fancy mixes.

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  2. Thanks Dar! I had a Great Christmas and New Years! Do you know why it was great? Because I didn't eat any tuna. ;) Just kidding (sort of) - In my defense, I've never liked fish of any kind. I do like shrimp, but as far actual fish go, I'd rather they keep swimming in the rivers, oceans and streams then in my stomach, which, really, they wouldn't be, because they'd be dead if they were in my stomach. Unless I'm eating live fish, which, I'd have to say, would be a strange thing for me to do, seeing as how I don't even like dead fish. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I hope you also had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. :)

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  3. Thanks Dar! I had a Great Christmas and New Years! Do you know why it was great? Because I didn't eat any tuna. ;) Just kidding (sort of) - In my defense, I've never liked fish of any kind. I do like shrimp, but as far actual fish go, I'd rather they keep swimming in the rivers, oceans and streams then in my stomach, which, really, they wouldn't be, because they'd be dead if they were in my stomach. Unless I'm eating live fish, which, I'd have to say, would be a strange thing for me to do, seeing as how I don't even like dead fish. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I hope you also had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. :)

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  4. I remember Tuna Twist very well. I still remember what it tasted like and I loved it. I did a lot of research and I have found a really close substitute for the old tuna twist!!!!
    1 can tuna in water drained.
    All the rest to taste.
    dried parsley
    dried minced onion
    celery salt
    1/2 half the dried vegetables from Knorr Veg soup mix
    Mayo
    mix all then add some of the Knorr powder to taste.
    chill .
    It is truly as yummy as the old twist packet.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much,i miss tuna twist,it is the only way i can stand to eat tuna,i loved it !!! so i am going to try this,bcuz it does sound like all the ingredients !!! tysm

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    2. Me too! I loved it and will try this!

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    3. Thanks for the recipe!! I loved tuna twist and have tried to duplicate it.

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    4. THANK YOU! I loved Tuna Twist.

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    5. Thank you for providing the recipe. I too was a Tuna Twist lover as a kid. I do add a little sriracha to my tuna mix for a little spice! :)

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    6. I loved Tuna Twist. I will try your recipe. I was thinking that it had a small amount of milk in it

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    7. o my goodness THANK YOU for the recipe. I LOVED TUNA TWIST!!!! IT WAS DELICIOUS. I searched for it after I got married in the 80's but I could never find it again. I never forgot about that stuff though! I always tried to make my tuna taste the way it did with tuna twist but could NEVER duplicate that deliciousness!!!! Will definitely try your recipe. YUMMMMMM

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  5. I used to love it as a child, i guess i was one of the few that didnt get sick because we always bought it.

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  7. Hum..interesting. I've never seen it before, and as a child of the 1970s who lived off Hamburger Helper & Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, I'm SURE my mother would have been ALL ABOUT Tuna Twist had it been available. Sounds kinda good actually.

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  8. I hate tuna personally myself, but I'm game with canned chicken.

    TVP is now roughly 90% of the processed food out there. How ironic.

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  9. In 1978 when hurricane Greta swept over the small country of Belize, British soldiers delivered Tuna Twist to families who were cut off from food due to flooding. I can't remember it making any one sick but maybe Nabisco "donated" what they could not sell in the US to flood relief in a small third world country!

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    Replies
    1. Nickyro919,

      To be fair, people in Belize probably have tougher stomachs than those in America/West. I've lived in the Third World, and can attest to such things.

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  10. I loved Tuna Twist growing up. I live in Cali. But in the seventies I grew up in the south. Everytime I bring up how delicious TT was people act as if it was my imagination. So good to know I'm not. Going to try this recipe. Still can't get the taste of TT out of my mind. Thanks

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    1. I wish they would just come back with it. Always wondered why they quit making it and never put it back out there for everyone.
      I think it was Awesome! I am going to try these recipes and see if they really taste like it. And nope not your imagination,, Tuna Twist was The Best.
      My Favorite.

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  11. I have never been crazy about tuna, but Tuna Twist was great and was the only way I would ever eat a tuna sandwich.
    Nabisco DID bring TT back in 1980 or 1981, I remember having a TT tuna sandwich the day President Reagan was shot, March 30, 1981.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for reminding us of this!I was sure I wasn't crazy and had it in the 80's.

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    2. I remember having TT IN 1981. I was pregnant at the time and would eat 1 1/2 sandwiches for lunch. Never had a problem. I wish Nabisco would bring TT back! It was so good!

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    3. Omg I wish they would bring TT back too. I loved it. Been looking for a recipe for it.

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  12. I use to love this product back in the day. Had no problem with it. I truly wish it could find it's way back to grocery store shelves.

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  13. I use to love this product back in the day. Had no problem with it. I truly wish it could find it's way back to grocery store shelves.

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  14. This product,was the best and I never got sick. The flavor was amazing I too still look for it. Tuna twist will always be the best

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  15. I still think about Tuna Twist every time I make tuna sandwiches. I loved it! It never made me sick, either.

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  16. Haven't had Tuna since TT left the market. Loved it, never made anyone in my house sick. I remember when it came back the had one with corn in it. My favorite is still the Italian flavor. I found this site because every couple of years I look it up to see if is coming back.

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  17. I LOVED Tuna Twist. We ate it for lunch all the time in the summer stuffed in homegrown tomatoes. It is interesting to know that it was in 1976. I would have never guessed that.

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  18. Tuna Twist was the only way I would eat tuna. I LOVED it and never got sick. Wish they would bring it back.

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  19. I don't remember Tuna Twist, but I know the secret to making good tuna for those who hate fish. First, use only tuna in water, not oil (nasty fishy smell and slime). Second, mix with mayo, sweet relish, a tiny amount of mustard, and a generous douse of Lawry's Seasoned salt. Mix thoroughly and put on lightly-toasted white bread or sourdough.

    Also, most folks that hate fish need to take a trip to Hawaii. There, getting a mild white ocean fish like "Opa" or "Ono" will win you over...especially when it's encrusted in macadamia nuts and served with a pineapple salsa. As with all foods, the secret of good tuna and other fish is in how it's prepared.

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  22. Hi!!! I loved Tuna Twist. I remember it well. The thing is in 76 I was only 4, so either it came back again, or I just are a lot of it LOL!! Thanks 4 the memories.

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    Replies
    1. I too remember it well but it had to be in 1979-1986. I wish some company would duplicate and bring a product like it

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  23. I loved Tuna Twist and have always been searching for it since it disappeared. I'd appreciate if it was brought back.

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  24. Don't recall what years exactly, but do remember having it in the mid-70s and, I thought for some time. I do remember the cheddar version being disgusting. We tried it just once. The others were quite nice, and I remember being disappointed when we couldn't get them any more. I don't remember it being on account of a recall, though.

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  25. I know i bought it in 1981... i was pregnant with my daughter. I bought all the store had on the shelf. I am gonna try Robert Nun'ya's copycat recipe.

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  26. I know I absolutely ate Tuna Twist after 1976. It had to be 1977-1979. As a latch key kid, this was a big part of my menu. Also during summer when I was home alone watching soap operas.

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  27. I remember it..we loved it and no-one ever got sick. I also remember MAKE A BETTER BURGER and Danish go rounds toaster pasterys.

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  28. I remember it..we loved it and no-one ever got sick. I also remember MAKE A BETTER BURGER and Danish go rounds toaster pasterys.

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  29. I don't remember ever having tuna twist (born 1964) - my mother was big on tuna casserole - but that commercial and "Sir Celery, Ms. Parsley, we are the Onion Twins" - that was awesome (maybe because I was and still am a twin).

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  30. first, canning any fish can be the bast way to lock in fresh flavors. there are some really high end boutique canneries in alaska and other places that produce world class products. ok. yes i remember this stuff and could not find anything about it at all until now. i thought the onion was awesome. to this day (and at this exact moment) i put celery seed and onion powder in my tuna. its a great flavor. I never understood why it disappeared so thanks (but i must say TVP only makes people fart or get a bellyache if in excess. not sick.). im pretty sure i had it in the mid 80s as 76 i was a baby.

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  31. Textured Vegetable Protein made people with soy allergies sick. The food companies weren't very good at labeling products with allergens back then and it didnt say "contains soy" on the package.

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  32. I adored this stuff! Only way I would eat tuna as a kid. And I know it had to be later then '76 because I was only 6 then. I clearly remember making this for myself. I had to be at least 9. I wasn't great with the can opener when I was 6.

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  33. Do you remember eating Tuna Twist later then 1976?

    No! Than! THAN! Not then! Than!

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  34. I would love to have some Tuna Twist. Wish it would be brought back!

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