Under the Sea Salad – Retro Recipe


Under the Sea Salad

Under the Sea Salad is a dessert salad containing lime jello, pears and pear juice, cream cheese, lemon juice and cinnamon. Under the Sea Salad was popular in the 1960’s and was published in the Joys of Jello recipe book around 1975. This attractive salad has two layers: first a layer of lime jello mixed with water, pear juice and lemon juice that is allowed to firm up in the refrigerator and secondly a mixture of lime jello with cream cheese and diced pears spiced with cinnamon that is added on top of the first layer and chilled for at least 4 hours.

Gelatin Salads

In the past gelatin salads were often a common feature at potluck suppers, church socials, family reunions and other large gatherings. Cafeterias and buffet-style restaurants often offered at least one kind of gelatin salad selection. F. W. Woolworth’s lunch counter had gelatin salads on their menu.

I struggled with the idea of Under the Sea Salad being a “salad” until I realized it was a “dessert salad.” Dessert salads are sweet salads containing fruit, gelatin and one or more of the following ingredients: whipped cream, softened cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. Examples include Watergate (pistachio) Salad, Perfection Salad and other gelatin-based molded salads. I also dislike thinking of food as being “molded” or “congealed” but these are the descriptive words often applied to gelatin-type salads!

Fruity, cool gelatin salads are inexpensive, fun, and easy to make. The secret to achieving separate layers of gelatin is to let each layer get semi-firm before adding the next layer.

The Recipe for Under the Sea Salad

Under the Sea Salad
Serves 8
A gelatin dessert salad with two layers, one of which contains pears and cream cheese and the other layer contains lime jello with pear juice and lemon juice.
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  1. 1 can (15-oz.) pear halves in their own juice
  2. 1 cup boiling water
  3. 1 pkg.(4-serving size) lime flavored gelatin
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  7. 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Drain pears, reserving 3/4 cup of the juice or syrup. Dice pears; set aside.
  2. Stir boiling water into gelatin and salt in medium bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved.
  3. Stir in reserved syrup and lemon juice.
  4. Pour 1 1/4 cups gelatin mixture into a 8" x 4" loaf pan or 4-cup mold sprayed with cooking spray.
  5. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set but not firm (should stick to finger when touched and should mound).
  6. Beat remaining gelatin mixture gradually into cream cheese until smooth. Stir in pears and cinnamon. Spoon over clear gelatin layer in pan.
  7. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold. Cut into 8 slices. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
  1. Serving suggestion: Whipped cream and a maraschino cherry
  2. Try other flavor and fruit combinations!
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Additional Comments

To remove a gelatin salad from a mold or pan, first dip the mold or pan in warm water for 5 – 10 seconds. Gently pull gelatin from around the edges with moistened fingers. Place serving plate on top of mold or pan. Invert mold and plate, holding mold and plate together, and shake slightly to loosen. Gently remove mold and center gelatin salad on serving plate.

To double the recipe for Under the Sea Salad, just multiply all the ingredients by 2 and use  a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

The origins of gelatin salads can be traced back to Mrs. John E. Cook of New Castle, Pennsylvania to her dish called Perfection Salad which won 3rd prize in a Better Homes & Gardens contest. Another fun fact is that Jello is the official state snack of the state of Utah!

Try Under the Sea Salad soon for a cool, refreshing and delicious trip back to the 60’s!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


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Southern Coleslaw – A Versatile Side Dish

The Basics of Coleslaw

Basically, coleslaw is defined as a salad made with chopped or shredded raw cabbage as the main ingredient, usually mixed with shredded carrots and other vegetables and dressed with mayonnaise. My version, Southern Coleslaw, fits the basic definition of coleslaw but adds white wine vinegar to the dressing, as well as finely chopped onion, bell pepper and celery seed for seasoning. Occasionally a coleslaw recipe will include pineapple or apple, nuts, and grated cheese.

Many countries around the world have their own version of coleslaw – in fact the word coleslaw means “cabbage salad” in Dutch. I found it interesting that in Sweden coleslaw is served with pizza and they call it “pizza salad.”

In the Southern United States, coleslaw is traditionally eaten with fish, especially fried fish, and seafood. Restaurants that primarily serve fish and seafood are often called “fish camps.” Coleslaw is also served with BBQ Pork, as a side dish or in the case of a BBQ Pork Sandwich served right on the bun. There is even a Red Slaw, also known as BBQ Slaw, made to accompany Lexington-style North Carolina barbequed pork. Fried Chicken is yet another food with which Southern Coleslaw is served. (In fact I often see “copycat” recipes on the internet for KFC coleslaw!) Southern Coleslaw is also served with hot dogs and hamburgers.

When I was in elementary school, I was served coleslaw in which the cabbage and carrots were minced as finely as those vegetables could be minced. (I don’t know how they got the pieces of carrot and cabbage so small!) I’ve always remembered it and any time now that I’m served coleslaw of that consistency I refer to if affectionately as “elementary school coleslaw.” There is one seafood restaurant in Charlotte that has elementary school coleslaw and this particular restaurant does not call itself a “fish camp” for whatever reason!

The Recipe for Southern Coleslaw

Southern Coleslaw
Serves 10
A salad made with shredded raw cabbage, carrots, onion and bell pepper, dressed with mayonnaise and white wine vinegar and seasoned with celery seed.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1 medium head cabbage, shredded
  2. 2 carrots, peeled & shredded
  3. 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  6. 2 tablespoons sugar
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2 teaspoons celery seed
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss until mayonnaise and white wine vinegar are evenly coating the other ingredients. Chill for several hours before serving.
  1. I use a food processor to shred the cabbage and carrots, and chop the onion. However, I recommend chopping the bell pepper with a knife for best results.
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Parting Comments

Celery Seeds are one of my favorite spices to use to flavor coleslaw, egg salad, potato salad and chicken salad. I really like the taste of Celery Seeds! Celery Seeds are found in the flowers of the celery plant, are very small, range from tan to brown in color, and have a strong, pleasant aroma. Celery Seeds were used in ancient medicine to treat colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion and arthritis. Unfortunately there are no recent human scientific studies that verify these claims. I was encouraged to learn that there have been studies that show that Celery Seeds act as a mosquito repellent! (Mosquitos love me – Ugh!) The studies didn’t say whether you had to eat the Celery Seeds or douse yourself with them! I’ll have to do a little more research on that one!

Make some Southern Coleslaw soon and serve it with anything – it’s a very versatile side dish! Remember cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which is important in cancer prevention. (See my recent post Scalloped Cabbage – Retro Recipe for information about cruciferous vegetables.)

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


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For a list of Link Parties in which I participate weekly, please click on “Link Parties” on the header menu bar.


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