This section is from the book "Philadelphia Cook Book: A Manual Of Home Economies", by Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer. Also available from Amazon: Philadelphia Cook Book.
Fruit should be served as fresh as possible, the large fruits cold. The small acid fruits are rendered more acid by being chilled. Fresh, ripe fruit is particularly wholesome if taken in the early part of the day. Liebig says: "Besides contributing a large proportion of sugar, mucilage, and other nutritive compounds in the form of food, they contain such a fine combination of vegetable acids, attractive substances, and aromatic principles, with the nutritive matter, as to act powerfully in the capacity of refrigerants, tonics, and antiseptics, and when freely used at the season of ripeness, by rural laborers and others, they prevent debility, strengthen digestion, correct the putrefactive tendency of nitrogenous food, avert scurvy, and probably maintain and strengthen the power of productive labor."
For the table, select those of a spicy flavor; wipe them clean and polish with a soft towel. Serve in a fruit dish or a small, pretty basket. Use only a silver knife in cutting.
Bananas should be served whole, the large, red and lady fingers mixed.
The large cherry and the white currants may be served together. Select large clusters, rinse them by dipping in and out of cold water, then place on a sieve to drain. Arrange them on a pretty dish, and serve in saucers around a small pyramid of powdered sugar. Take the stem between the thumb and finger, dip the fruit lightly in the powdered sugar, and eat from the stem.
They may also be stemmed and mixed with an equal quantity of raspberries.
Grapes should be rinsed in cold water, drained on a sieve, and then arranged in a pretty basket; fruit scissors should accompany the basket, to divide the clusters.
Oranges may be served whole, cut in halves crosswise, and eaten with a spoon.
Or, peeled, cut in small pieces, rejecting the seeds. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, let stand an hour, and serve.
Pick out the finest, large, yellow peaches. Rub the wool off carefully, handling as little as possible. Serve in a pretty basket with peach or rose leaves around the basket.
Or, pare and slice, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve immediately (or they will turn dark), with thick cream.
Pears may be served the same as Apples.
Pare, remove the eyes, and pick the pineapple in small pieces with a silver fork, stripping it from the core. Never use a knife to cut the pineapple as it destroys the flavor. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Stand in a cold place one hour before serving.
Remove the outside skin and carefully take out the seeds, rejecting every particle of the thin brown skin that separates the sections. Heap the seeds on a pretty dish, mix with them finely-chopped ice, and serve.
Pick them carefully, without mashing, only a few moments before you wish to serve them. Heap them in a glass dish, and send around powdered sugar and cream with them. Allow each guest to sugar his own.
Never wash any kind of berries, as it destroys their flavor.
Strawberries for breakfast may be served with their stems on, the same as Currants.