IT is customary to serve at the beginning of a meal a dish which, while it may have little food value, whets the appetite and stimulates the flow of digestive juices. At the formal dinner this is ordinarily raw oysters or clams in the shell, or caviar or anchovy canapes; but for other meals the cocktail is coming into ever wider use.

The fruit cocktails are acceptable to many people, and at luncheons frequently form part of the decorative scheme. The cocktail glass should be set on a small linen or paper doily on a plate.

Oyster Cocktail No. 1

12 oysters

1 teaspoon grated horseradish

1 teaspoon tomato catsup

1 saltspoon salt Dash of red pepper 1 teaspoon tabasco

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Put three oysters in each glass. Mix the horseradish and seasonings and pour the sauce over the oysters.

Oyster Cocktail No. 2

12 oysters

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon tomato catsup saltspoon paprika 1 saltspoon salt

5 drops tabasco

Put three oysters in each glass. Make a sauce of the other ingredients and pour over the oysters.

Lobster Cocktail

Cut the lobster into small pieces; mix well with tomato catsup, lemon juice and salt. Serve in cocktail glasses.

Clam Cocktail

Follow either of the recipes for oyster cocktails, using little neck clams.

Grape-Fruit Cocktail

Cut the grape-fruit into halves, crosswise, and scoop out the pulp, rejecting the white inner skin as well as the seeds. Clean the shells; cut the edges with a sharp knife into scallops and throw them into cold water. Set the pulp on the ice. At serving time put a teaspoon of cracked ice in the bottom of each shell; fill with the pulp, mixed thoroughly with powdered sugar and white grapes, if desired; and place a maraschino cherry or bit of bright-colored jelly in the center of each. Lay on paper doilies or surround with bits of asparagus fern.

Mixed Fruit Cocktails

Cut into small pieces as many different kinds of fruit as you have in the house; sweeten to taste and set on the ice to chill. At serving time fill the cocktail glasses and place a maraschino cherry or ripe strawberry on the top of each.

Fresh or canned pineapple is one of the most refreshing fruits for cocktails.

Raspberry Cocktail

Mash a pint of ripe, red currants; strain them through cheesecloth; pour the juice over a pint of red raspberries and set on the ice to chill. At serving time sweeten to taste and pour into the glasses, putting a teaspoon of powdered sugar on the top of each.

Strawberry Cocktail

Slice five or six large strawberries into each glass and squeeze over them the juice of an orange. At serving time add a heaping teaspoon of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of shaved ice.

Pineapple And Banana Cocktail

Take equal parts of banana and fresh or canned pineapple; cut into small cubes and cover with lemon or pineapple juice. Serve in glasses or orange shells placed on autumn leaves or sprays of green fern.

Peach Cocktail

Fill the glasses with sliced peaches; cover with orange or lemon Juice; sweeten to taste; add a little shaved ice and serve. Apricot and cherry cocktails may be made in the same way.

Ambrosia

Fill the glasses with alternate layers of sliced orange and cocoa-nut; cover with powdered sugar and place a maraschino cherry on the top of each.

Caviar Canapes

6 squares toast 1 teaspoon chopped parsley

6 teaspoons Russian caviar 1 teaspoon chopped onion

1 hard-boiled egg

Cut the bread about one-quarter of an. inch thick and two inches square (or round) and after it is toasted spread over each slice a teaspoon of ice-cold caviar. Mix the other ingredients; spread the mixture over the caviar and serve with quarters of lemon.

Anchovy Canapes

Cut the bread as for caviar canapes and spread with anchovy paste. Chop separately the yolks and whites of hard-boiled eggs and cover the canapes, dividing them into quarters, with anchovies split in two lengthwise, and using yolks and whites in alternate quarters.

Cheese Canapes

1 cup grated cheese Dash of red pepper

1 teaspoon salt 6 slices buttered bread

Cut the bread into circles, diamonds or squares, butter them lightly and brown by placing in the oven or frying in deep fat. Cover each with a thick layer of the grated cheese to which the seasoning has been added. Bake in the oven until the cheese is thoroughly melted and serve at once.

Ham Canapes

cup minced ham 1 teaspoon chopped parsley

2 tablespoons butter 6 slices buttered bread

Mix the ham, butter and parsley to a smooth paste; prepare the bread as for cheese canapes; spread with the mixture and serve.