A recent lawsuit against Subway, purveyor of sandwiches allegedly made of food and not the public transit option of the same name, claims that the “tuna” in its “tuna salad” is not made from fish at all, a claim the chain, famous for being similar enough to better sandwiches to settle for on a road trip, refutes vehemently. But this latest, litigious, interaction is just an extreme example of a theological debate for the ages, tearing relationships asunder for eons: What’s in tuna salad?
According to the lawsuit, “multiple samples” of the tuna salad taken in California found that the salad was made of “anything but” fish and is, in fact, some sort of hash assembled from “a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.” Subway maintains that the tuna salad is, in fact, made from not just fish, but tuna fish that once swam the ocean freely, claims that are both heretofore unsubstantiated.
This is not the first time Subway has come under litigious suspicion for playing fast and loose with word definitions like “foot-long” and “bread.” But it is the first time the restaurant chain has stumbled into what I consider a hallowed debate even more crucial than those around transubstantiation, which is the question of what can go into a tuna salad before it just becomes an odd fish slaw.
The question is so important it was touched upon in the original Marriage Story: the 1980s film Urban Cowboy, in which a young, very hot couple is torn asunder by the question of whether it is pecans and apples or onion that makes a tuna salad. And while both hot people make salient points, the matter is left ultimately unresolved in a film that has literally no other plot holes, perhaps because filmmakers were too cowardly to come down on either side of such a hot-button issue. And now, the argument has raged so out of control for so long that it might have come to a Bleak House conclusion in which tuna salad no longer even has any tuna in it, not to mention the fact that Bud and Sissy separated within hours of the quarrel, wrenched apart mostly by a mechanical bull at a suburban bar owned by Mickey Gilley but also because of the tuna thing.
So in the spirit of engaging the discourse in order to spark some sort of clarity, allow me to proffer my tuna salad beliefs. If we cannot agree, perhaps we can come to understand one another’s fish salad beliefs. Here are some acceptable ingredients for tuna salad:
- chunk white albacore tuna in water
- hard-boiled egg
- sweet relish
- green apple
- purple onion
- lemon juice
- Cajun seasoning
I hope we can come to respect each other through a better understanding of our opposing positions, just as Bud and Sissy eventually did.