Earlier this summer when the temperatures were high and my motivation to do much of anything was low, I spent a few consecutive evenings camped out on the couch and watching DVD’s from my collection. One night’s feature presentation was Dick, which is a fictional take on the Watergate scandal. High cinema? Hardly. But it had a recognizable cast and a good soundtrack, and there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.
Some time after that, I was leafing through my mom’s copy of Retro Recipes from the ’50s and ’60s: 103 Vintage Appetizers, Dinners, and Drinks Everyone Will Love (this was a Mother’s Day gift from me, and 100% worth it just for the photos, even if you don’t ever plan on making liver and onions or beef Wellington), when I came across Watergate Salad in the “Side Dishes” section. Reading through the ingredients, I thought that calling it a side dish might be stretching it a bit…but also, I really wanted to make it!
I assembled my ingredients…
Kraft created this recipe to showcase their new-at-the-time pistachio pudding mix, and originally called it “Pistachio Pineapple Delight” before a newspaper columnist gave it its more infamous name. I call it a misnamed dessert.
The pineapple, pudding mix, and pecans get thrown into a mixing bowl along with the marshmallows.
It’s still not a salad, but at least it’s still fairly benign-looking at this point.
Not for long, though…
What the heck, Kraft? This looks like one of those queasy-making dishes you see at Halloween. (“Zombie Brains”!) Folding in the Cool Whip helped a bit.
By the time I was spreading it in the pan, it looked like the picture in the book.
The recipe called for an 8″ baking dish; I went larger than that after looking at how much was in the bowl. (I think my problem might have been a larger container of Cool Whip than the recipe called for, but in my defense it was not labelled as being 8 oz and was also the only size available at the store, so…)
Also of interest: the recipe said it could either be scooped or sliced for serving, and I had my doubts at first. Until…
I’ll be darned! That stuff really held its shape, and I’m not sure if that’s a selling point or not.
By the way, if you’re wanting to try this for yourself, here’s a very similar recipe to the one in the book.
I’m not sure what it is, but it’s definitely not a salad. Even Ambrosia salad feels more salad-like, somehow. Perhaps it’s best enjoyed with shlocky 70s-by-way-of-the-90s nostalgia. It’s cool and light, though, and my mom loved it – so I guess the book was a good investment.
Thanks for looking! 🙂