Per a request from Trott (before he realized that he was facing the very real danger of actually having to eat the salads I make), the next salad I made manifest from the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook was the dreaded Watergate Salad.
The alien landscape of Watergate Salad
There is something intriguing about the idea that anything in 1979 would willingly carry the appellation “Watergate.” I recently discovered a nearly-identical Watergate Salad in a 1981 Lutheran church cookbook from Wisconsin. This little beast got around. More astounding, there is a Wikipedia entry for this affront to the culinary arts. According to the dubious, citation-less, stubbalicious entry:
No one is really sure of where the name came from. Kraft Corporate Affairs said, “We developed the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight. It was in 1975, the same year that pistachio pudding mix came out.” Kraft, however, didn’t refer to it as Watergate Salad until consumers started requesting the recipe for it under the name. “According to Kraft Kitchens, when the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight was sent out, an unnamed Chicago food editor renamed it Watergate Salad to promote interest in the recipe when she printed it in her column.”
This? This is the best the Kraft Kitchens could come up with to promote their new pistachio pudding flavor? I know pistachio pudding, I have enjoyed pistachio pudding, and these ingredients are not friends to pistachio pudding:
Watergate Salad recipe: if you recite it in front of a mirror three times, Nixon appears and bites your face off.
The green, slimy first stage of Watergate Salad — the precursor, if you will — had a certain je ne sais quoi.
My initial reaction to a bite of Watergate Salad was “it wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t have the mini-marshmallows.” My second reaction was, “oh, wait, no… it would be exactly that bad.” This stuff is vile. The recipe sounded dreadful, and boy did it deliver. Luckily, I did not have to bear the burden of Watergate Salad on my own: I was invited to a potluck dinner. The “salad” went untouched for nearly the whole meal, but at the end of the night, a few brave souls dug in — and liked it! Go figure. So, I guess there’s an audience for Watergate Salad after all.
There are step-by-step pictures, if you want to see the whole gory production (including multi-color mini-marshmallows in their native environment — Cool Whip!). Coming up next thanks to a request from Liz: Corned Beef Salad!