This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
The best and simplest frame for any salad is a bed of lettuce leaves or shredded lettuce, cabbage or cress. Many salads are made more attractive by a sprinkling of chopped nuts or capers, minced green pepper or red pimiento or a grating of cheese. A half nut-meat, two or three radishes cut to resemble roses, dates or prunes stuffed with nuts or cream cheese, olives whole or sliced, tiny new onions or sliced green pickles all add flavor and color.
Truffles are wild, edible, subterranean fungi that are raised principally in France. They are too expensive to be used in large quantity but are highly prized as a flavorful garnish for aspics, salads and sauces. Because of their black color they make an effective contrast to the pale or vivid colors of the more common foods.
Very attractive decorations for meat, fish, salads or aspic are vegetables cut into simple flower designs. Cucumbers, beets, turnips, Russian radishes and carrots with chopped greens are the materials to have at hand. For a lily, cut a long cucumber in half crosswise. Stand up on this cut surface and with a sharp knife cut narrow strips, not too thin, from tip to within an inch of the base. Continue until all the white, too, is cut into strips resembling petals. Into the center insert a long narrow carrot, root end up, to simulate the yellow stamen. If necessary wrap base with a rubber band to hold tightly. Beets and round turnips can be peeled and cut to resemble budding roses. The turnips can be stained with vegetable coloring if desired. Flat slices of turnip or Russian radish cut to resemble daisies have a center of carrot and a sprinkle of chopped green. Calla lilies may be made of thin slices of larger turnips. Roll until the edges meet in cornucopia shape and fasten with a toothpick. Insert a long slender carrot or carrot strip for the stamen and fasten with another toothpick. Broccoli, leek, shallot, or spinach leaves may be attached. Easter lilies are made the same way except that the petal is split after rolling the calyx.