It is, in fact, delightful.
I don’t recall our Thanksgiving or Christmas spread without a bowl full of Pink Funk. Originating from my dad’s side of the family, the dish eventually jiggled its way onto the holiday table of both branches. Nanny’s handwritten recipe card actually called it “Cherry Delight,” but over the years our family has renamed it. It is, in fact, delightful. The unlikely concoction of cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple, Cool Whip, and Eagle Brand milk is simultaneously delicious and mysterious. Those unfamiliar with it may wonder, “What is this? Is it a side dish or a dessert? What do I do if it mixes with the dressing on my plate?” But after a few bites most people say: "Please pass the pink funk."
In the last several years, I have been authorized to bring Pink Funk to our family holidays, and it’s a torch I’m proud to carry. I love to make it for a few reasons. Mainly because it’s a sweet family tradition that makes me think of my grandparents. It’s also really easy–and can be made a day ahead. Stirring that fluffy bowl of pink magic takes me back to their house, to playing card games of Old Maid, and running under the giant pecan trees in their flat Tennessee yard.
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I’ve seen similar recipes go by names like Pink Stuff, Cherry Fluff, etc. It’s comforting to know that these oddball dishes show up on everyone’s holiday spreads, raising eyebrows and stirring memories.
Last year, my three-year-old helped us make Pink Funk for the first time. Her eyes lit up with excitement as each ingredient went in the bowl. This sticky-sweet recipe embraces one of her most cherished food groups. After several taste tests, she officially became a fan. I am happy to do what I can to pass this tradition on to the next generation.