cooking

I am not a…salad?

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! 🙂

2 thoughts on “I am not a…salad?”

  1. You know, I’ve never had any type of these “salads” not even ambrosia? I’m super curious though! My parents were SUPER anti the whole casserole/midwestern/church potluck fare so I grew up utterly unfamiliar with these things. I’ve never even had green bean casserole, ha.

    1. Haha, I’ve never had green bean casserole either. I just don’t get the appeal! I only really discovered ambrosia a few years ago, from a grocery store deli, and even *that* feels less processed and weird to me than this did.

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