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Mar 2, 2002 10:41 AM


  • j

Howdy! I am from Tucson, Arizona and amtrying to find out the story of "Wiggle": Where it originated, what part of the country is most popular..etc. Any help you could offer me would be greatly appriciated!

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  1. m
    Michael Hoffman

    What is Wiggle?

    11 Replies
    1. re: Michael Hoffman
      Pat Goldberg

      xxx wiggle is xxx in a cream sauce (nee bechamel sauce, if you are not from New England) with peas and sometimes carrots included in it. This is served over toast, or better yet, buttered crackers.

      Common values for xxx:
      canned salmon
      shrimp (usually canned)
      finnan haddie

      The peas (or peas and carrots) are usually out of a can too.

      I don't know its history, but this was a lunchtime staple of my childhood in Maine in the 40's.

      I have a copy of the "1939 Maine Rebekahs Cook Book" with a recipe for shrimp wiggle that calls for:

      1 T butter, 1 small chopped onion, a can of tomato soup, a can of shrimp finely chopped, a cup of cooked rice, a cup of cream, soda and pepper-either black or read. Your were to cook the onions in the butter, then add everything else, and serve on saltines.

      Clearly an "upscale" version.

      Pat G.

      1. re: Pat Goldberg

        Had this lots as a child - never knew it was called "wiggle". Would've probably liked it more had I only known....

        1. re: Pat Goldberg
          Michael Hoffman

          I'm from New England, and I've never heard of it. Of course, I'm from southern New England -- Connecticut, so that might account for my lack of Wiggle knowledge. I do, however, remember cream sauce with peas over toast, but I always thought it was just my mother's weird cooking.

          1. re: Michael Hoffman

            "Tuna pea wiggle is popular in Central Maine. Pat

            1. re: Pat Hammond

              There's a corner store in Portland on St. John St. called Aunt Dee's. They have a board outside listing the specials for the day. They often list:

              Tuna Wiggle
              Ice Cream

              SO we call it the tuna wiggle ice cream place, or tuna wiggle for short. It sounds so disgusting, even without the ice cream! My Maine native husband remembers eating TW and not ever liking it.

              On the other hand, my mother's family, from small -town Minnesota (think Lake Wobegon), always made "hot dish," which consisted of canned cream of mushroom (usually) soup cooked with ground beef and whatever else was at hand. And I liked that as a kid. But I grew up in Queens and Long Island and so was more used to Chinese and Italian food. Well, what they called Chinese food back then.

            2. re: Michael Hoffman

              I'm from CT too, and never heard of wiggle until I ran across it in (of all places) the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook. There it is characterized as a Maine dish. Their recipe is pretty fancified, with shrimp and asparagus, but very easy to do. We make it when we don't feel like cooking, with (OK, major non-chowhound confession here!) frozen shrimp, frozen asparagus, frozen peas, and canned cream of mushroom soup, and eat it over rice -- very inauthentic, I'm sure.

          2. re: Michael Hoffman

            Oh boy, this sure takes me back! I grew up in CT but my dad was from Maine and this was his family's thing...we often had "salmon wiggle", espeacially on Fridays which some of you may remember involved not eating meat... Salmon wiggle was a home made cream sauce, canned salmon and peas...I alway thought my dad made the name up! since we're talking about late 40's/early 50's, it was probably canned peas ( somehow LeSeur Baby Peas springs in to the old memory bank). I don't remember this being served ON anything, although my dad was a great one for pouring weird mixtures over saltines, milk crackers or toast...(but then he loved milk toast....don't ask!) Any way salmon wiggle was actully pretty good, at least the way my mother made it, but then she was Italian and everything she cooked was great! How on earth did you ever hear about it in the first place?!

            1. re: pat

              Pat, if you go back to the beginning of this thread, and look at all the postings, you will see that three "Pats" have responded: you, Pat Hammond, and myself.

              We all share similar memories, and since Pat is a pretty common name, it would help if you distinguished yourself by adding a last name or initial or identifying handle of some sort. Make it your regular posting name, and we will get to know you better.

              And welcome to the Maine Pat-club!

              Pat G.

              1. re: pat

                Couldn't resisit having the Pats in a row!

                When I moved to Maine one of the first things I saw in the local cafe was "Tuna Pea Wiggle"! I used to have "milk toast" when I was sick as a child. My grandfather's supper often consisted of pilot crackers with hot milk, a "knob" of butter (as he'd say) seasoned with salt and pepper. Since the big meal of the day was dinner at noon, I guess that held him 'til morning.

                1. re: Pat Hammond

                  What? No sugar?

                  Pat g.

                  1. re: Pat Goldberg

                    Nope. Not on Cream of Wheat or farina, either.

            2. Grew up on Wiggle. Mosty shrimp style over saltine crackers. This is a common Down East Maine meal. You folks that don"t know must be from away........

              1. We had 'tuna pea wiggle' at the old 'Miss Newport Diner' in Newport VT six years ago. It was creamed tuna with peas on saltines. As a canned tuna addict, I'm glad I tried it but wouldn't go out of my way to eat it again

                1. Just noticed the date stamp on this post... oh, well, here goes nothing.
                  As a proud Yankee of Yankee heritage , I know shrimp and salmon wiggle quite well.
                  It was a staple in my childhood diet.

                  1. tuna wiggle was a dish served by my mom over toast, cream sauce and some canned corn.