This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Fruit and vegetables exposed for sale on the streets and sidewalks gather dirt, besides decaying quicker than they would if kept protected and cool. The law should require dealers to keep these foods indoors and covered. In some cities women have been instrumental in having such a law enforced. Ordinarily, fruit bought in the market must be rinsed or wiped clean. Rinse berries quickly in cold water and drain them at once. Soaking hurts their flavor and softens them.1 Rinse grapes and other small fruits. Wipe larger fruits with a damp cloth. If you like apples polished, rub them with soft paper. Wipe the down from peaches.
Use silver or wooden spoons, silver knives, and earthen or enamelled cooking dishes for fruit. What class of sub-stances in fruit may form bad-tasting, and perhaps poisonous, compounds with iron, steel, or copper? (P. 57.)
Fruit, except when fresh from tree or vine, should be served as cold as possible. Never leave fruit in the dining-room between meals; keep it cool and out of the dust. Arrange it tastefully, grouping the colors harmoniously, if several kinds are placed on one dish.
Place finger bowls on the table when fruit is served. Fruit juice stains white napkins.
1 Strawberries are never so good after washing. Use as little water as possible on them.
Cut and sugar sliced peaches just before serving, as they discolor quickly. Let sliced oranges, bananas, and pineapples stand sugared for half an hour. Sugar currants, crush them slightly, and let them stand till the sugar dissolves. Serve berries unsweetened, and pass powdered sugar, or sugar and cream, with them.
For breakfast, oranges are served whole or cut in halves across the sections. To prepare sliced oranges, peel them, pick off the bitter, indigestible white skin, thrust a fork into the centre of the orange, and, with a sharp steel knife, slice off the pulp, leaving the pith on the fork. Sprinkle with sugar. Orange-juice may be served in small glasses. Cut oranges in halves, extract the juice, preferably with a glass lemon-squeezer, and strain.
Bananas peeled, scraped, and sliced may be served mixed with sliced oranges or by themselves with sugar and a little lemon juice or with sugar, a few grains of salt, and cream.
These may be a first course at breakfast or lunch. Cut grape-fruit in half, loosen the pulp from the skin of the sections with a knife, remove seeds and tough centre, and sprinkle with sugar. Cut melons or cantaloupes in two, remove seeds, and serve very cold. Ice may be placed in each.
To prepare pineapple for the table, cut off the skin and dig out the eyes; then, holding the pineapple by the top, with a fork tear the pulp into shreds, and cut or scrape the shreds off with a knife, leaving the woody core untouched. Sprinkle with sugar.