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Columnist, Sheila 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, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Green Stuff...

The Green Stuff

Holidays are 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 stuff."

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 the kitchen.

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 continues.

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

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