Friday, October 14, 2011

Watergate Salad

If you've spent any time in the American Midwest, you may have noticed a fluffy, vibrant green salad for sale at the deli counter in supermarkets. Like Danny, I'm allergic to nuts which I consider merciful as it has spared me the obligation to politely accept a dish of Watergate salad when offered. Yes, I was sickened by the sight of the stuff long before I married into the family of a Watergate felon (and no, I never met him).

Today, I found myself attempting to explain the contents, and appeal of Watergate salad to a Yorkie.

"Well, it has lime gelatin, pistachio pudding, lemon-lime soda and/or pineapple juice, non-dairy whipped cream, and sometimes if the chef is feeling adventurous, mini-fruit flavoured marshmallows. I'm told it is a bit of an acquired taste, but I can't say for certain as I've never tried it."

He didn't buy any. Can't say I did a very good job of selling the salad's virtues, assuming it has any. What I couldn't pin down was the origin of the name. My understanding is that it was a salad that became popular around the time of the Watergate hearings, but I have no idea if that's true, or urban folklore.

Living in the Midwest, the question is bound to come up again. Does anyone know why it is called, Watergate salad?" Curiously, it really isn't a salad at all-it is a fluffy dessert made from foods that aren't really food (save for the pineapple juice). No one calls blancmange, "salad." Maybe this is a case of calling any dessert, "pudding" or something like that.

Relax, I'm not going to attempt a nut-free version.

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