My dad wasn’t much of a cook when I was growing up. He was great with the grill, but when it came to preparing a side dish with more than three ingredients, putting together a casserole, or baking, well, anything the result was rarely edible.
He still managed to keep us fed when my mom was away. Our menu was simple and limited, but for the most part it was tasty. We’d dine on things like Manwich, Hamburger Helper, and pizza prepared from a kit made by Chef Boyardee and, if we were lucky, we would have instant pudding for dessert.
As far as my 6-year-old self was concerned, my dad made the best pudding that ever was or ever would be. He would mix it up after my sister and I had cleared the dinner dishes and serve it to us with a dollop of COOL WHIP whipped topping and a few chocolate chips sprinkled on top. I would stir it until the COOL WHIP was thoroughly mixed in making it extra creamy. It was heavenly.
Years later, I still make instant pudding with COOL WHIP as a snack. I can’t help but smile while preparing it. Making the pudding is as simple as adding three cups of milk to a bag of mix and stirring. Turns out they don’t call it instant pudding for nothing. As a child I was convinced my dad was a culinary genius who just happened to specialize in desserts, but in reality he just knew what to add to make a simple dessert a special treat.
Instant pudding topped with COOL WHIP is now one of my children’s favorite dishes as well.
“Isn’t this delicious?” I ask them as they shovel giant spoonfuls into their mouths ringed with chocolate. They nod in agreement.
“It’s your grandpa’s secret recipe,” I say. “Maybe one day I’ll tell you how to make it.”