This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
The success of a "company" meal depends largely upon the accessories; hors d'oeuvres, or relishes, and dainty appetizers are to a luncheon or dinner like the trimming to a dress, retrieving the plainness and lending an artistic finish that the finest meal cannot attain if they are omitted. Unfortunately, most housewives have the impression that caviar, anchovy paste and other expensive ingredients are needed to prepare these tidbits, but in reality the most ordinary materials, skilfully combined, are quite as savory, and much more acceptable because they have the home touch. Whereas there is no appreciable difference between hors d'oeuvres and relishes, the more elaborate types like canapes, fish cocktails, or raw oysters are used to begin a meal, other simpler types, like fringed celery and stuffed olives, being passed between the courses.
The appetizers used to commence a meal are as follows: Grapefruit, fruit cups, raw oysters, or clams, fish cocktails, vegetable cocktails and hot or cold canapes. As a general rule, it may be said that the fruit, fruit cups and vegetable cocktails are more suitable to warm weather meals, canapes, and the various fish appetizers being more adaptable to the colder months.
Canapes should be served on small plates covered with doilies. A dessert or ramekin fork should be provided for the service. Raw oysters, or clams, on the shell should be served on beds of shaved ice in deep plates with a garnish of lemon points, radish roses or with a wine glassful of a suitable sauce in the center of each plate. Tiny sandwiches should be passed with them. Fish cocktails may be served in wine glasses, or in cups sweet green peppers and onions, mixed with a little French dressing. Set an egg-half on each slice, sprinkle over the riced egg yolk and top each egg-half with a slice of stuffed olive.