Under-the-Sea Salad (1931) ★★★
I won't bother giving a history lesson on this recipe, as Yesterdish already has done a stellar job on that front. I'll just summarize by saying the name for this Jell-O salad appeared as early as 1931, but the ingredients are very changeable (see alternative versions here, and here). The recipe does, however, always include lime gelatin. According to Yesterdish, it is possible that this recipe originated from General Foods itself, as it was being advertised by a General Foods employee. The recipe for Under the Sea Salad appearing in a 1931 General Foods Jell-O cookbook is very similar to the version most widely known today - a cream cheese and pear base with a clear lime top. This was reassuring to me, as I really wasn't keen on trying the cabbage or olive versions.
The Verdict:It was okay. I wasn't really impressed with the results, and that's not just because I am fail at unmolding Jell-O. I'm not sure I'll finish eating this, and I wouldn't make it again. It didn't really taste bad, but it didn't taste good to me either. My favourite part was the pear chunks in the bottom, because they were fresh and sweet. The rest of it tasted a bit odd, maybe because of the pear juice, salt, and vinegar added to the lime Jell-O. I also discovered that I'm not really a fan of cream cheese unless its sweetened, and although this had Jell-O mixed in, it wasn't very sweet at all. Overall, just kind of "meh", but I gave it 3 stars because it is edible and it more or less turned out as advertised.
Modernized Recipe:(Adapted from The Greater Jell-O Recipe Book)
1 package LIME JELL-O
1 1/2 cups BOILING WATER
1/2 cup PEAR JUICE (reserved from canned pears)
1 teaspoon VINEGAR (or sub. lemon juice)
6 ounces CREAM CHEESE, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon GINGER
2 cups CANNED PEARS, diced
1. Dissolve the Jell-O in the boiling water. When it has dissolved, add the pear juice and vinegar. Pour a 1/2 inch layer in a loaf pan and leave the remainder to mix with the cream cheese later. Put both in the fridge to chill.
2. Once the remaining larger portion of Jell-O is cold and syrupy, place it in a bowl of ice and beat it until it is fluffy and thick like whipped cream. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and ginger.
3. Gently fold the whipped Jell-O into the cream cheese, little by little. Fold in the pears. Pour over the first layer of Jell-O, which should be firm. Let all chill until firm before unmolding.