This Pasta-And-Cool Whip Combo Is A Thanksgiving Staple In The Southwest

Most of us are no strangers to canned fruit, nor have we shied away from using pasta in our salads. But, the two combined makes for an interesting dish. If you're looking to serve up a treat that will give people something to talk about (other than politics) this Thanksgiving, we've got the scoop on a beloved regional holiday dessert that we're sure will make most people look twice and strike up a conversation.

It's called frog eye salad, and it's a popular staple for Thanksgiving meals in certain parts of the country. It's made with — among other things — canned fruit, colored mini marshmallows, and Acini di Pepe (small round beads of pasta), all tossed in Cool Whip, says Vintage Dish and Tell. If you're grappling with the idea of all those ingredients in one sweet dish, know that it is a kissing cousin to the Hawaiian salad, aka ambrosia, which is also made with canned fruit but dressed in sour cream (via Granny's in the Kitchen).

Before you dismiss the idea as something your four-year-old dreamed up in the middle of a pretend cooking session, you should know that the dish is not only the real thing, its also a hit with people in the west and southwest parts of the U.S.; in fact, Matador Network says frog eye salad graces many traditional Thanksgiving tables across Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming. Frog eye salad has been around long enough that people even spell it in different ways: either as frog-eye or frog eye.

Frog eye salad has been around since at least the '60s

As with many passed-down recipes, no one is quite certain which inventive person came up with the idea for frog eye salad or when it first came to be. The blogger behind Vintage Dish and Tell says she found her recipe in a cookbook published in 1992 and she then tracked down Marlene Roberts, who was credited with writing up the recipe. Marlene, who herself got the recipe from her mother, says frog eye salad was regularly featured on boxes of Creamette Acini Di Pepe pasta between the late 1960s and the early 1970s. 

To this day, the dish is tried and tested, popular at large-scale events like holiday dinners and church potlucks — and it continues to be served the same way. In fact, even the New York Times said it was the most-Googled dish in Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming for Thanksgiving season 2014. 

And while it does sounds interesting, does frog eye salad actually taste good? Matador Network reports that, like with many dishes that have personal memories for some people, it would all depend on who you ask. Some folks used to love it because "they didn't know any better," while others have labeled it an "all-time favorite food," per the article.

So if you're fixing to make something different to shake up your holiday table, frog eye salad may be just the thing. And no one will be shying way from these sweet leftovers.