Even Southerners Are Divided On This Regional Pear Salad

Pears and cheese in a salad sounds delightful. Who isn't a fan of a little arugula, finely sliced pears, walnuts — caramelized or raw — and gorgonzola all tossed together? But there is one Southern salad that coincidentally uses pears and cheese that has some people recoiling in horror that such a monstrosity could ever be a recipe, let alone pass through someone's lips, be eaten, and enjoyed. A blogger at Southern Food and Fun points out that if you are not from the South, then you probably have not even heard of this pear salad that uses canned pears, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, mayo, and is topped with a little maraschino cherry — the kind usually reserved for a child's sundae. It might sound like a joke, but it's not.

This Southern salad creation is a far cry from the type of pear and cheese salad someone like Sandra Lee would serve up. But Southern Living shares this is an easy dish that you would definitely see on a dinner table at Easter in any Southern home, served up alongside some delicious ham. Still, if you are starting to dry heave at the mere thought of this salad's description, you are not alone. According to BuzzFeed, even Southerners find this salad a little, well, weird. 

A vintage salad from the 1950s

How did this salad even happen?  Customs Cafe shared, "This retro treat was served in households and schools in the Southern US in the 50's & 60's." That's around the time, per The Daily Meal, that all the fun and disgusting Jell-O salads made their way onto our plates, and perhaps housewives of this time period had a little more time on their hands to experiment. Not to mention, as Southern Living points out, the ingredients needed to make pear salad were generally readily available in the pantry because what good Southern household doesn't have a jar or two of Duke's mayo in reserve? Also, it does not take a lot of skill to assemble this salad, which makes it a no fuss addition to a meal.

Still, this Southern treat does not sound like much of a treat and people on social media agree. One user from the Twittervese wrote, "this awful Pear Salad thing with Pear, Mayo, Cheese and a Cherry!?...even though I know its our own southern thing but it makes me want to gag..." Several others shared a meme of Schmidt from "New Girl" gagging repulsively at the very thought of pears, cheese, and mayo together. But another reviewer had a contrary opinion. "Southern pear salad: canned halved pears topped with mayo and shredded cheddar cheese, garnished with a Maraschino cherry, and served on a bed of iceberg lettuce. I hate to admit that it's actually pretty tasty." We will politely pass.