Pear… Salad?

The other day my partner in cuisine crime and I were talking about peach cobbler. We started discussing the use of canned peaches versus fresh and that put us on the tangent of which canned fruits we like.

I talked about my love of fruit cocktail, especially the maraschino cherry halves.

Then, my partner in cuisine crime said, “I love canned pears… with just a dollop of mayo.”

I waited for him to correct himself.

I mean, we were on our way to dinner so I figured savory foods were on his mind and that’s why he mentioned mayo.

Several seconds went by without a correction, so I finally said, “Mayo?!?”

He said, “Yes!”

I sat there stunned.

Who eats canned (or fresh for that matter) pears with mayonnaise?

It gets better.

He told me that his mom always topped canned pear halves with a dollop of mayo in the hole, some shredded cheese, and a maraschino cherry half.

I was even more stunned.

I kept waiting for the punch line but there wasn’t one.

A quick internet search showed me that this is a Southern family tradition.

This dish really made me feel like a Yankee.

I just didn’t get it.

So I had to try it.

We got a can of pears in heavy syrup.

Each half got a spoonful of mayo.

Then we grated on some mild cheddar.

The crowning glory came from a jar of maraschino cherries we had in the fridge.

I took one bite, and after seeing my face, my partner in cuisine crime said, “It tastes like a canned pear with mayo, right?”

I agreed.

It wasn’t bad. It was weird.

I’d love to know the origin of this… Salad.

Is it a quick fix for the family on a budget?

Did a mom need a fast side for a Sunday potluck?

Do you have the answer?

Tip: Read the can’s label thoroughly before buying. On our first trip to the store we ended up with pears sweetened by Splenda. There was just a tiny Splenda emblem on the label. Who wants artificially sweetened canned fruit? Not me.


16 Comments Add yours

  1. From what I found it was created in the 1940’s and was popular with Easter dinner (or Supper). My version would be pears filled with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a cherry on top. lol

    1. I like your version!!

  2. I am just a little scared…….but want to go get a can of pears now

  3. Kim Deal says:

    My mom used to make the pear thing when we were kids. No cherry on top, but usually a lettuce leaf beneath the pear.

    1. Did you eat the lettuce?

  4. Chroma says:

    I’m looking at my pear tree through the window. Most go to the horses but this year when they ripen maybe I’ll experiment.
    There is that hollow spot. Hummus topped with havarti and bacon bits? Why not? Every time I say “mayo” I think of Richard Gere in “Officer and a Gentleman”. Love what you’ve done with the new look… Disherman!

    1. A pear tree! Lucky! I’m pretty sure I’ve had one from your tree… Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  5. Carol Goldsmith says:

    This was a big treat in our house growing up!And I grew up in the upper Midwest. I’m actually something of an amateur food historian…and my research finds that this was a recipe that came out in the 1930’s-40’s when canned food processors offered little recipe booklets to boost sales. During those eras, “exotic” salads were all the rage…and this one was a big hit. I have to admit the maraschino cherry was a new twist, though.

    1. Very interesting!!! The cherry was my favorite part! 😉

  6. Laben says:

    I’m from Charlotte, NC and my mother (and great grandmother before her) made pear salad exactly as you described (cherry and all), on a bed of lettuce leaves (as another person or so has commented). Always was a favorite of mine, growing up in the 80’s. When I mentioned pear salad to one of my elementary teachers/classes everyone thought I was making it up, so for years I thought it was just a thing my family came up with. Since then I’ve met the occasional, rare person who grew up eating the same thing (always a Southerner in my experience).

    I enjoyed reading your experience with pear salad. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I love hearing food memories…. I appreciate your comment!

  7. Emily says:

    Yep, we grew up eating a similar version, but instead of the cherry on top, Mom added a dash of nutmeg. We were military brats, but Mom was raised in the Deep South. I can almost taste them when I think about it!

  8. Julia says:

    I think this idea is from the 40’s. My Mom would make a similar fruit salad. Two canned pear halves on a bed of lettuce (or peaches or apricots or pineapple) would be topped with either cottage cheese or grated cheddar cheese. Then she would top each with a small dollop of mayo. In the summer on hot days we would have “fruit plates” for dinner. It was an expanded version of the above. It usually included canned pears, peaches, pineapple, apricots and a banana arranged on a bed of lettuce with a scoop of cottage cheese/or grated cheddar cheese and a dot of mayo on top. It was usually served with crackers. It is a quick lunch or dinner fix since the items used are mostly pantry items and it takes almost no time to put together.

  9. Charlene says:

    The original version appeared in the 1920s, on a bed of lettuce without the cherry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s