Tonight as I was mixing up fruit salad for Thanksgiving I was remembering how much I loved it as a kid. It really was my favorite dish. Now that I make it myself the mystery is gone, but the kids love it. I thought in honor of the holiday I would share the secret to making this fruit salad.
I'll start with the grocery shopping as it is an important part of getting the kids to eat it. First buy a box of orange jello, the kind you actually have to add water to not the pre-made stuff your kids beg for. Now comes the fruit. Get a short can of crushed pineapple. The ones that look like old school tuna cans but with pineapple in them. Next is a medium can of mandarin oranges. Not the big can but also not the tiny can. It is the one in between. Pick up a bag of miniature marshmallows. Don't buy them more than a couple of days in advance or you will not have enough left by the time you make it. Head on over the the refrigerator section and pick up some cottage cheese. It's the size just big enough to be a tub but not so big that you need a long handled spoon to get it all out. Last you'll need two tubs of Cool Whip. Actually the recipe only calls for 1, but we all know that one tub will magically disappear as soon as your husband knows it is in the house.
The night before you want to eat this and after the kids go to bed, get out a big plastic bowl with a lid. Drain your pineapple and oranges and dump them in the bowl. Next goes the cottage cheese. It is very important not to let any children or child like adults see this step as they are usually terrified of cottage cheese, or maybe that is just my house. Yell at your husband for eating the Cool Whip you had thawed out for this and then grab the still partly frozen tub you had hidden behind the vegetables in the bottom drawer of the frig. Fold it in. Now add a fist full of marshmallows in, or how ever many it takes for your kids to notice them before they see other ingredients. The last step is to open the orange jello mix and sprinkle in around a half of the packet. After stirring you want a peachy color and slight orange smell without it becoming a full "Oh, Tang!" kind of a thing.
The next day the kids will blissfully eat it up without a clue of what is hidden in it's fluffy folds. You can sit back and smile at what you have tricked them into eating. That is, right up to the point that you realize that the unhealthy ingredients greatly out weight the healthy, but at least you can still say that they ate fruit salad.