Tuna Cakes; The Right Sort

Tuna CakesTunacakes

When one is employed and moves into a new community, there is a network of people in existence (your co-workers) that starts you off to establish your new social life.

When one has children and moves into a new community, there is a network of people in existence (other parents) that starts you off to establish your new social life.

When one is not working for a ‘company’ and not waiting in front of the local school every day, establishing a new social life can be a bit more challenging.

Trying to do that in a foreign country within an expat (expatriate) community can be even more daunting.

And don’t say “Just be friends with the locals” – that’s even more difficult without the right ‘introductions’…. Which almost always come from the expat community.

We dipped our toes in the social waters over the holidays:  We were invited to 2 parties, both of which were a good mix of English-speakers and French-only-speakers.  This is a good sign that the two groups mingle easily and often.

But still, navigating these waters can be tricky.

When we moved to Andorra, which has a much smaller and a bit more closed, expat community, we were invited everywhere immediately.

Everyone wanted to check us out; to determine if we were ‘their people’.

We were told, by more than one, to ‘be sure to stop by on Saturday… I’ll introduce you to our sort of people’.

Not that we ever really figured out what sort of people they were…

Or we were….

The last time I was even remotely concerned about whether or not any person was the ‘right sort’  was when I was in high school and navigating those shark infested waters.

Someone advised that it was important to meet everyone before making any decisions as to whom to socialize with.

I just want to say: OMG!!!!!

In the Vendée, we just kind of ran into people and were so excited to speak English that we were instant friends.

And if we liked each other we stayed friends.

Seemed to work there….


I don’t know what sort of people they were, either.

I do know that it’s time for a bit of lighter fare.

Less expensive never hurts, either. (tuna v crab)

Tuna Cakes

Tuna Cakes

Garnished with small white asparagus and a Balsamic vinaigrette, this is a light first course, reminiscent of a salad, but perfect for winter when we have no lettuce.

6oz (180gr) tuna
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tbs olive oil
white or green asparagus, 8 oz (250gr) optional
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Drain the tuna and put into a large bowl. Whisk egg in a small bowl. Add mustard and breadcrumbs, mix well. Add egg mixture to tuna and gently mix. Divide and form into 2 patties. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties and fry, 7 – 9 minutes, until starting to brown. Carefully turn with a spatula and sauté another 5 – 6 minutes. Remove and place on plate.
Open and drain asparagus. Divide asparagus between plates and arrange nicely around Tuna Cake. Drizzle with vinaigrette, garnish with olives if you have some and serve.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs good olive oil

Put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.

In addition to the above, for the week of January 2 we have Baked Salmon, Peppered Pork, Pantry Soup, Red Cabbage three ways, and an Orzo Pizza.

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12 thoughts on “Tuna Cakes; The Right Sort”

  1. Tricky indeed! The mere mention of “our kind of people” always want to make me check my zippers, nails, secretly polish my shoes on the back of my pants… I never feel as if I belong. Either group. Don’t know if I want to. Thank god for tuna cakes.

  2. When we moved to Rhode Island, it was the same thing. We didn’t use the schools, churches, political system here, and I worked from home, so it took a while to meet people. Keep yourself open to everyone; that’s the best way. And look for the ones who like to cook — those are my kind of people!

  3. Thanks, JennDZ, and to you, too!
    Baking Soda, or check for spinach in my front teeth… Makes me feel 10 years old!
    Tanna, I used to be the one other mother’s warned against…. Don’t tell!
    Lydia, good advice – always look for foodies! At least there will be common ground!

  4. Well, these look like “my kind” of tuna cakes. If you can’t get crab (I’m a Dungeness snob myself) for crab cakes, then tuna cakes are a wonderful Next Best Thing.
    Good luck navigating the waters!
    Bonne Année!

  5. We make something similar to this using that fake crab (white fish). It never occurred to me to use tuna. What a good idea, Katie.
    Yikes. I can’t begin to imagine going to visit someone who has said, “our sort of people”. Red flags are flying crazily and I can automatically feel my nostrils flaring just a little as I imagine myself trying to gracefully wiggle out of having to go, trying desperately not to shriek.
    Happy New Year!
    P.S. Now I have an urge to go and look in my closet and note that I haven’t got a THING to wear when visiting people to meet “our sort of people”….

  6. Loulou, the price of crab is soo outrageous here!
    Elizabeth, I never have the ‘right’ thing to wear… And I always want to do something really outrageous!

  7. Tuna cake looks so delicious! I’ve never tried a Tuna cake before. Glad that you’ve post the recipe. I’ll try to do that some other time. Thanks!

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