The saying that "some people eat with their eyes" is true to a great extent of all of us. I believe that the veriest savage would better enjoy his dinner, however rude, if somewhere there were tucked into it a bit of green. The busy farmer's wife as she goes to the wood pile for an armful of wood can quickly pick off a spray of May weed, dropping it into a tin of cold water as she passes the water pail, and her platter of beans for dinner is transformed, in the eyes of those children, into a thing of beauty, and what effect may it not have in the formation of their characters?
Of variety in garnishing there need be no lack with the garden, wayside and woods abounding in beautiful leaves, vines and flowers.
There are foliage plant, geranium, and autumn leaves, ferns in variety, with lettuce, endive, spinach, parsley, chervil and carrot tops. The variegated variety of beet leaves, as also the bright blossoms of nasturtiums make a brilliant garnish.
Put parsley, ferns, and all of the green leaves and vines into very cold water as soon as gathered and leave for some time, then keep in paper sacks in a cold place away from the wind. Repeat the cold water bath at intervals.
Barberries canned, or preserved in brine, candied cranberries or cherries, green grapes in brine, designs cut from orange, lemon grape fruit and tangerine rinds, tomatoes in slices or in lengthwise pieces, and slices of lemon or orange with the skin on are all suitable garnishes at times.
Lemon cups, having a slice cut off from the ends so that they will stand, may be used for mayonnaise or small servings of salad.
Orange and grape fruit halves with tops notched or scalloped or sometimes cut in deep points rolled down, and orange baskets make a change of service. All of these fruit cups should be kept in ice water or chopped ice until serving time, then thoroughly dried with a soft towel.
Blood oranges and gelatine oranges are novelties for garnishing.
Sprays of maidenhair fern are pretty under grape fruit and orange cups.
All cups or glasses containing salads or creams should be served on doilies on small plates.
To prepare fringed celery, cut the stalks into two-or three-in. lengths, then slice very fine from each end to within 3/4 - 1 in. of the center and leave in ice water for a time. Do not lay in ice water before preparing. The short tender stalks may have the leaves left on and be shredded at the opposite end. Celery leaves make a desirable garnish.
Cut carrots, beets and yellow turnips into slices or sticks, or into round pieces with an open-top thimble or a round pastry tube, and into fancy shapes with vegetable cutters, selecting cutters which have not sharp points or slender stems.
Get either the turnip or olive shaped radishes, wash them well, trim off just the slender tips and all but one or two of the smallest leaves. With a thin, sharp knife cut them into halves from the tip end almost to the stem, and the same way into quarters and eighths. Then carefully loosen the rind of each section as far down as it is cut and throw the radishes into ice water, leaving them there for several hours or overnight, when they will have bloomed into beautiful lilies. Pure white or yellow lilies may be made from yellow or white radishes. Serve directly from the ice water, and the radishes will be crisp and sweet and easily digested.
Just one radish sometimes, in a spray or two of parsley or chervil is better than a more elaborate garnish; a red radish sliced or cut into quarters or sixths is pretty in a little green.
Roll up imperfect leaves of lettuce and slice in thin slices, then pick up lightly and use for borders or nests or beds.
Dry parsley thoroughly in a towel before chopping. For rolling, spread the particles out, a little distance apart, so as to just fleck whatever is rolled in it.