I’ve made it already, and it’s one I can — and will — keep.

by Noni Mausa

For me, salmon and tuna have always been at opposite ends of my food spectrum — cheap staple versus delicacy.

I’m a boomer, and I am sure I’m not alone in having a mother who used tuna as a tasty way to feed seven or more of us on a budget. Make a cream sauce, open 3 cans of tuna and a tin of green peas, and pour it over toast — that was the comfort food of my childhood and adulthood too.

And heaped up tuna sandwiches with mayonnaise and little chopped gherkins … pasta salad with cheese, peas and more gherkins … tuna casserole with onion rings on top … well, you can tell I grew up in Minnesota.

I miss them already, and it’s only been a few weeks.

At my parent’s table tuna was the rule, not the exception. We must have eaten a school of tunas in my school years. Oh, tinned salmon showed up now and then also, but I never got to know the delights of broiled salmon till I grew up.

But this autumn I decided I couldn’t have either of them anymore.

Eating a tuna isn’t like eating a cow. Cows are grazing animals, but tuna, silvery streamlined and one of the fastest fish in the sea, is a peak predator. Eating tuna is like eating cheetahs — yummy, endangered carnivores, in cream sauce.

At the other end of my delicacy spectrum we have the beautiful wild ocean relative of the trout, the salmon. The wild ones, as are tuna, are endangered.

But I can’t eat the farmed salmon either — it’s now certain they act as a reservoir for disease and parasites for the wild ones, and there are other problems too numerous to detail here.

So earlier this autumn I had my last tin of tuna (creamed with a sprinkle of curry powder – very un-Minnesotan) and my last tin of salmon (can’t remember what I did with that.) There is a single salmon steak still in the freezer. Then that’s it. Those last two tins hang from my cedar tree now, clinking gently in the wind, to remind me. But so far I haven’t been tempted at all.

Maybe someone else will eat the last tuna, or the last salmon. But it won’t be me.