Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
The Green Stuff
a time steeped in tradition and a time when families gather
together and enjoy favorite foods. For some families the
traditional food may be turkey with special stuffing, ham with a
secret glaze, or pumpkin pie. Our family too has a special food
that we enjoy only at holidays. Its called "green
Yes, you heard me right. I said "green stuff." It
surely must have had a finer name at some point in time, but it
has been so long ago that the name has been lost to posterity
and only the ingredients remain. Even the recipe has grown a bit
vague, at least as far as exact amounts.
I can tell you what green stuff is made from, but only a taste
can really do it justice. Mix a bag of melted marshmallows; two
packages of cream cheese, two packages of dry green jello, a can
of crushed pineapple, and a pint of whipping cream, whipped.
Presuming you didn't blow up the microwave melting the
marshmallows, you have made green stuff!
Even though the name faded into oblivion, the green stuff
continues to be served at Thanksgiving and Christmas year after
year. There are other similar recipes, but this one is
especially rich and sweet. Our family cannot be fooled by
imitations. We eat a small amount of it along with the meal,
just like cranberry sauce.
The tradition started with my mother-in-law who always used to
make the dish on holidays. Of course, my husband wanted
"green stuff" when we began to prepare our own holiday
meals. And so the recipe was passed along with
verbal instructions on how to prepare it so that it comes out
light and fluffy - not that anyone could make it like she did.
At one time we made both "green stuff" and "pink
stuff." The pink stuff was just like green stuff except it
was made with strawberry jello and nuts were added. Eventually,
though, the green became such a favorite and the pink was
so neglected that we dropped it completely so we didn’t have
to feel guilty for not eating it.
We have begun to think that perhaps "green stuff " is
actually the correct name. People seem to instinctively call it
that. Whenever I prepare the dish for guests or for a potluck
dinner, someone will invariable ask, "What’s the
green stuff?" Imagine their surprise when I reply,
"That’s it. Its called ‘green stuff’."
For our family a holiday isn’t a holiday without it. Whenever
my son calls to wrangle a dinner invitation for the holidays, he
always asks, "Are you making the green stuff?"
Naturally, I am. We can change almost any other
part of the meal, but we have to have the green stuff.
My daughter-in-law has the recipe and learned to prepare the
green stuff, and so the tradition has passed to the next
generation. My daughters always say no one can make it as good
as I can. Of course, that is just a ploy
because it is a pain to make. It seems impossible to prepare
without making a sticky mess and dirtying up half the bowls in
This year when we planned the holiday menu, green stuff was not
mentioned. I thought maybe everyone was tired of it and we would
just skip it this year. Then I received a panic call at work
from my daughter. "We forgot about the
green stuff! What do I need to buy to make it?" And so it
While I was up to my elbows wrestling melted marshmallow and
whipping cream in my kitchen the other day, my 5-year-old
grandson walked into the kitchen. He looked at what I was doing
and asked, "Hey, grandma, what’s the green stuff?"
Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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