I made some Pink Fluff. From the cradle to the grave, for any occasion, Pink Fluff seems to bring colorful cheer or soothing comfort. Baby Showers, Wedding Teas or Bereavement food- Pink Fluff can adapt to the occasion. We Southerners do love our color coordination- Pink Fluff can become Blue Cloud, Orange Whip, Puffy Cherry, Apricot Dreams or pale yellow Pineapple Pillow. Pastel Perfection. It’s been said, if the girl’s dress matches the punch- chances are she’s a bridesmaid; if her sash or corsage matches the Fluff, she’s in the bridal party. Groomsmen even get in on the act- wearing color coordinated ties, cumberbunds (pronounced- cum-bah-buns in the South) or at the very least the boutonnieres match the punch and fluff. Tough guys might not admit it, though as one recipe exclaimed – Pink Fluff – but men love it!
Baby Showers may offer Blue Cloud if the baby is a boy, Easter Dinners might have several colors of fluff to match the décor of Dyed Eggs, Easter Bunny Ribbons or Egg Hunting Children’s Attire. Young ladies- wait, who am I kidding? Ladies of all ages do love Pink Teas and Luncheons with Petit Fours, Colorful Punch, Tea Sandwiches and Table Linens in a profusion of pink cloud perfection; always Pink Fluff has a starring role on the luncheon plate, as a light or frozen fruit salad.
As light as angel wings, Pink Fluff seems entirely appropriate as Funeral Food- really…it’s the perfect thing- easy to digest, soothing and cool. The dearly departed would love knowing her family is enjoying the heavenly concoction – Pink Fluff. I am proud to say, I know ladies who still think to include this light and tender dish to bereaved families. I combined several recipes to make mine.
The old ones relied on sugar preserved fruit, whipped cream, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. The newer ones rely on dry sweetened gelatin, non-dairy whipped topping, cottage cheese, canned pineapple or pie filling and often included miniature marshmallows, chopped pecans. Best of all, when the season begins to warm and the air is tender but thick with humidity, no cooking is required for light and sweet Fluff.
Camellia’s Pink Fluff
In a large bowl, mix Jello and non-dairy Whipped Topping. Thoroughly combine. Add one container of small curd Cottage Cheese. Blend in Strawberry Pie Filling and a large can of Crushed Pineapple with juice. Blend well. Refrgerate until ready to serve. Keep for days chilled! Serves a crowd.
*To change out flavors, use different pie fillings or fruit- for instance Blueberry Pie Filling and Berry Blue gelatin will make a wonderful rendition of Blue Cloud. Lemon Pie Filling, Mandarin Oranges and Orange Gelatin transform into a wonderful Orange Whip Cherry Pie Filling and Maraschino Cherries with chopped Pecans is another classic rendition of Pink Fluff . Fluff may be frozen and served using an ice cream scoop.**Don’t knock any Fluff, Dream Whip or Cloud until you try it!
If you know how to make Pink Fluff – I strongly suspect you were born and raised in the South. If you recognize Orange Whip or Blue Cloud – you’ve lived in the South long enough, attended various occasions where this mid century delight, in all of it’s various forms has been served .
As light as angel wings, Pink Fluff defies culinary category- Is it a congealed salad or is it a decadent dessert? Some use it as a dessert – As one Church Hen from the excellent cookbook – ‘The Church Ladies’ Divine Desserts’ said – ‘It’s a sin to tell a lie, but if you need a last minute dessert that looks as if it took you hours to make, you should try this one.’ Mrs. Nuntiata Buck’s* version is called Cherry Fluff. Several other versions include Pink Fluff in the Salads sections of their Cookbooks with the admonition- ‘Substitute flavors of gelatin for a variety of taste and to match color schemes’
Many congealed salads, from Tomato Aspic to Apricot Dream are found in old Southern cookbooks. Though Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing Lettuce Seed to the New World and Thomas Jefferson popularized Lettuce Salads in Early Spring- Southerners simply could not keep fresh lettuce chilled throughout the year especially in warm weather- so Fruit based, cool Congealed concoctions were thought to be essential at mealtime in our hot and humid environs, where fruit abounds to such a degree that fruit was preserved, jellied, dried and even made into wine. Serving fruit at mealtimes was an essential part of the early Southern diet. Mid-century Post War recipes for sweet fruit salads are found in abundance, as commercially made gelatin became widely available and refrigeration was possible, the recipes became more numerous and refined.
I made Pink Fluff. It’s for a children’s party but it could just as easily have been made for the sick, a wedding, the sad, a bridesmaid luncheon or a tragedy. These last few weeks have brought relief, sadness, sickness and even light and airy happiness to our own sweet cottage door- perhaps that’s why I chose to make Pink Fluff. There are few of life’s events where soothing food is not welcome. If you don’t know what to do or say- make a comfort food offering. To coddle and make over folks in times of sadness or at special occasions. Offering a plate of good food is either festive or restorative and I have to believe -always welcome.
Love y’all, Camellia
*A huge thanks to Lucky and JuJu for the inspiration and recipe input for Pink Fluff! *’The Church Ladies’ Divine Desserts’ written by- and compiled through the efforts of a multitude of African American Church Ladies is one of my personal treasures, you may be able to find a copy of it on Amazon.com *Frozen Pink Fluff tends to darken a bit, I think due to the sweetened condensed milk and is a wonderful alternative to ice cream. *All photographs are obviously mine.