I suspect every American family has a holiday recipe which includes a very unwholesome ingredient made by Kraft Foods, General Mills or some other corporate food producer. Maybe it’s something with lime green jello in it, or a cake mix full of preservatives. Perhaps Lipton soup mix is a main ingredient or it has marshmallows on top. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s a throwback from the 1950s and family members refuse to give it up.
In our family, that dish is Artic Freeze, a creamy, tart frozen concoction with walnuts and whole cranberry bits in it. I serve slices of it on a plate with a serving of homemade fresh cranberry sauce. If I omit it from the Thanksgiving menu, there’s a lot of whining around the table. Most of the ingredients in the dish are okay. It’s a blend of whole cranberry sauce, cream cheese, shredded pineapple and walnuts. Not too bad, so far, right? The killer ingredient? COOL WHIP. According to Wikipedia: “Cool Whip is made of water, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oil (CPKO), sodium caseinate, vanilla extract, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60 (glycosperse), and beta carotene.”
Cool Whip is pretty creepy used by itself as a dairy-like topping. (I always think of it as soft edible plastic.) But when it’s blended with all those other ingredients it actually looks and tastes like real food. I have in the past substituted real whipped cream for the Cool Whip. It was okay, it worked with the recipe, but it just didn’t have quite the right texture.
It would be a bad thing if I ate Artic Freeze everyday, but I’m sure once a year is fine. So I’m off now to add the ingredients to my Thanksgiving grocery list. And I'd love to hear about your favorite recipe, too...