No, it must be encased in gelatin at all times, and yes – the tomatoes must be pealed into a rosette.
Has your grandmother has ever bored you to death by showing off her old photo albums? You may have missed the album named: “my 40th birthday party”, where pictures of her fine gelatin moulded recipes displayed on the table, were outshone by the flow of booze in the foreground. Maybe you are that grandmother, and you’re appalled that none of your grandchildren appreciate the time you spent dicing melons and cubing cheese onto cocktail sticks before your parties.
From the 60s, right through to the 80s, the presentation of food at parties and social gatherings was nothing short of tacky and peculiar. Today’s “Jamie Oliverites” would be disgusted at the thought of tomato and carrot garnishes, or mince meat being moulded into a love heart.
Having said that, here’s a video of skilful garnish sculpting. You can’t deny it’s a trick of the trade.
In the 70s, anything with pineapple was also fair game, due to an increased interest in Hawaiian culture. Quiche, cheese balls/ logs, (bonus points if your cheese logs contains ham and/ or pineapple) carrot cake, and pasta primavera were also among the most iconic dishes of the decade. The 70s graduated from the stuffed celery and cherry tomatoes of the 60s, to bolder, stranger things like artichokes and meat, stuffed with other meat. The Prawn cocktail (a timeless dish, which many say TV cook, Fanny Craddock, is responsible for), was a true example of fine dining. Having “one food item hold another food item” was also very chic.
Although, this is all obviously from a westernised perspective. As you can see in this video of a Thai street food market in the 60’s, they had [and still have] a much more organic and earthly way of doing things.