This is a dish commonly referred to as 'green stuff' in my house. The real name is Watergate salad, but I didn't know this until I was about 12, so to me it will always be green stuff. Why? It's green. Much like 'red stuff' in our house was marinara sauce for spaghetti, but we called it red stuff because it is red. We go for obvious nicknames and shorthand.
I first introduced green stuff to my fiancee at my dad's birthday party as it was served with the other savoury dishes and more typical salads. This mixture of sweet and savoury, plus the confusing name with salad in the title despite being green, went against his very nature of eating and meals and taste combinations. Mixing sweet and savoury is not done in the UK. Ah, but what they miss!
I made this for Thanksgiving this year and it was the surprise hit of the dinner. I was finally able to serve it as I have found a suitable substitute for Cool Whip, which, as in all American delicacies, is a highly processed fake version of whipped cream that usually comes in a frozen tub. Then I found Dream Topping.
This is equally processed and fake whipped cream, but it comes in a powder that you have to whisk together. It gives a semblance of work and making something, putting effort into that makes it homemade. It's a passable substitute that I can live with.
The only other ingredients in this dish- ok, it's dessert, even if I always associate it with the main meal-are crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows and Jello pistachio pudding mix (powder that vaguely tastes like pistachio and will make a custard-like consistency dessert that Americans call pudding).
To make the Dream Topping, you mix the powder with milk.
Then whisk for a while. And a bit more. And a little more.
When it starts to get thicker and tastes like whipped cream, then it is done. Now add the Jello pudding powder.
It magically turns green!
Ok, you can't really tell in the photos. But it does- hence the name.
Add equal parts marshmallows and drained pineapple and stir together. Refrigerate this for half an hour and it will all come together nicely.
This isn't exactly a difficult dessert to make, but I only have it on special occasions, especially Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time we went to Grandma's house, who is the one that introduced it to the family. When you only eat something on specific occasions, it makes the food itself special and take on a bit of the importance of the day. You don't often find foods anymore that are so linked with a season or day such as you would have in past years. We can have asparagus anytime of the year, not just spring; hardly anyone fasts anymore during Lent so eggs no longer have such significance on Easter. Green stuff has this rare quality for me that even if I could, I wouldn't make it everyday. It would spoil the taste.