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My Hippie Days: Dave Schrock’s Tuna/Egg Skillet Dinner

April 2, 2016

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This is a recipe from my hippie days. Hippie, not hipster. As in 1972-73, when I lived in an “intentional community” which means in addition to being allowed to have guys and girls in one house at my rather conservative Christian college (before very many co-ed dorms were around), we shared food expenses and agreed to have household “community” meetings as the need arose.

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From left: Clair Mellinger, Vic Buckwalter, the late Chet Wenger, random unnamed guest, Tim Brenneman, Ruthi Detwiler.

We also took turns cooking the evening meal and ate together as often as possible. It was the highlight of most days at “Arborvitae,” named for the shrubbery outside our group home.

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P1090289Eldon Miller, Mamie Mellinger, and Clair Mellinger, watching the evening news in the Mellinger apartment part of the house.

The biology professor Clair Mellinger (who, with his wife Mamie, nursing professor, were kind of our “house parents” to make things all legal-beagle with aforementioned conservative Christian administration), especially loved the other Latin connection of “Arborvitae” which can be translated to mean “Tree of Life” and also refers to the cellular white matter in the brain when spelled arbor vitae.

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Our long dining room table also doubled as a study table. Eldon Miller, Tim Brenneman, and Bob Mast shown. 

But more about that another time. This is a recipe included in my book but I’ve never shared it here, along with a few food prep photos. I made it for the “10 Easiest Recipes PDF” I prepared especially for the 93-year-old guy wrote to me after I shared a condensed version of my “Cooking with Lizzy” series last this fall in the Another Way newspaper column, saying if 12 year old Lizzy could cook, maybe there was hope for him to learn to make a few dishes now that his wife of many years could no longer cook for them. I plan to feature more of those recipes and prep steps here on my blog.

Edited

Dave Schrock in our pantry scoping out a possible recipe in a cookbook. From the 1973 Shen EMU Yearbook.

It’s called Dave Schrock’s Tuna/Egg Skillet Dinner because when it was Dave’s turn to cook (we usually had two cooks working together), he would often make this simple and CHEAP dish filled with the protein goodness of tuna and eggs. And no, this is not a variation on tuna casserole at all (or at least not any tuna casserole I’ve ever eaten) but rather a stir fry or fried rice without any veggies. I suppose you could creatively add veggies like chopped broccoli or carrots if you want more complete nutrition and a little more color. I adapted it to fix quickly sometimes when my husband was away and I needed something for just the kids and me. They enjoyed the dish (hubby, not so much).

Dave was one of my high school friends at Bethany Christian High School so we also had our Indiana roots in common. Dave was a good friend of Chuck Kaufman who grew up with me at North Goshen Mennonite; Chuck was probably most influential in urging me to go to Eastern Mennonite University.  (And Harrisonburg is of course where I met my husband so … there you go. The rest is history. Forgive my serious recipe digression.)

Onward. (Additional description below as printed in Whatever Happened to Dinner.)

Dave Schrock’s Tuna/Egg Skillet Dinner

This is a one- or two-person meal that I adapted from one of the guys who made it (greatly multiplied) for a houseful of students who lived in a big old house during my sophomore year at Eastern Mennonite University. That year of sharing one-dish meals with a long table of twelve to fourteen people was a glimpse of true community. This recipe serves one or two. So simple, but hearty and tasty, it is basically a variation of fried rice.

1 can tuna, drained
2 eggs
2 teaspoons margarine or olive oil
1 cup / 250 ml cooked brown or white rice (fix according to package directions)

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Sauté eggs in a skillet over medium heat, gently chopping them up with the side of a spatula so that the eggs are mixed and chopped (but not scrambled). Push eggs to the side of the skillet, so they won’t get overly brown, while you brown tuna for 2–3 minutes, stirring.

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Add cooked rice. Stir tuna, eggs, and rice together, and brown several more minutes. Serve with soy sauce, if desired.

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Additional variation ideas to add, not listed in Whatever Happened to Dinner:

  • Sauté onions or garlic clove
  • Add chopped broccoli, carrots, or peas
  • Add mushrooms
  • Top with fresh cilantro or parsley

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Most of us have recipes that came from other people, and every time we cook that dish, we remember that person. Who or what story do you strongly associate with a particular person in your past? Stories? I’d love to hear.

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Did you ever have roommates or a community where you share or shared meals, either regularly or occasionally? What is a fond memory?

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If you’re new here, check out my book  Whatever Happened to Dinner? which includes over 100 recipes, mostly from Mennonite cooks, if that matters. 🙂 Recipes tested and collected by Jodi Nisly Hertzler and Carmen Wyse, two foodies who (mostly) loved doing it and shared their dishes between families as they cooked.

Whatever Happened to Dinner?

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4 Comments
  1. When I met my husband he was a grad student and feeding himself but the only dish he ever made for me was the tuna casserole from Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook. It had potato chips on top and was quite tasty. I enjoyed seeing my cousin Eldon Miller in your pictures.

  2. I’m trying to remember if Eldon and I ever figured out if we were related. 🙂 Perhaps we’re related too! Thanks for your comment–it’s great to have a dish that works even if it’s tuna casserole with potato chips on top–good old standby topping.

  3. We used to make this dish, Melodie! We added grated carrots and sliced mushrooms, and believe it or not, splashes of Italian salad dressing. 😉 When our daughter was little, the only way she’d eat anything with canned tuna in it was if she got chocolate milk to drink (she was a touch negotiator). Ah, the memories! 🙂

  4. I would say it is probably a pretty common mixture and an easily adapted dish. I’ll have to try the splashes of Italian on it. Hmm. I love the tough negotiating little daughter–does she still hold her own?? Chocolate milk can work miracles eh? Thanks for your comment!

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