Lord lordy my granny made it every sunday. She had pears from a tree in her yard that she cooked to make it. Don't know of any southern Sunday dinner without it. Even at our Episcopal church in Magnolia Springs
The photo on SouthernFoodandFun.com accompanied a recipe for the salad and I wondered who really needed instructions to make pear salad. I decided to see if I could find the origins of this vintage dish. Although there is no doubt it is southern in origin, I didn't find information on when it was created.
I came across a recipe for Acid Pear Salad in "The American Salad Book," written in 1899 by Maximillian de Loup: "Acid pears, not too ripe, made into a salad are especially nice served with any water fowl. Peel the fruit and cut into thin slices being careful to remove the core and any hard or imperfect parts. Serve immediately with an equal quantity of lettuce. A mayonnaise dressing is usually preferred…" The book included an entry labeled simply Pear Salad, which consisted of sectioned pears topped with fine sugar and a maraschino cherry and served with cream.
Of course, at that time, canned fruit wasn't as readily available, but ask those who recall pear salad from their youth and they'll tell you pear salad was always made with canned pears. I'm not sure why. Somehow, their crisp sweetness was an important part of the taste combination. Lucy Brewer from SouthernFoodandFun.com says it's the consistency that makes canned pears right for this dish.
Brewer said although the salad is no longer common, "I do still love to make it every now and then because it's one of those recipes that transports me back in time."
Candle Salad, it was popular from the 1920s to the 1950s. Like pear salad, it was a simple build-up of ingredients – no cooking, no mixing.