To prepare the potatoes, wash them and cover them with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring them to a boil and cook until just tender-- don't overcook or they'll fall apart. Let them cool completely, remove their skin and cut into cubes.
To prepare the beets, cover them in cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar to prevent them from bleeding. Boil until tender (about an hour) then rinse under cold water. The skin should peel off easily. Reserve some of the beet for decorating the salad if you wish (the housewife manual suggests cutting thin round disks for decoration) and cube the rest. Remember only to add these to the salad if you don't mind the bleeding which will make a pink salad.
To prepare the carrots, peel them first and then add them to cold water. Bring to a boil and take off the heat the moment they become tender (you want to cook them just a bit, not completely). Run them under cold water until manageable and cut into cubes.
Boil the green bean until cooked and dice.
Boil the peas until cooked.
Prepare the shrimp if using. Add raw shrimp to a pot of boiling water, leave in for 1-2 minutes until the water just starts to boil again, then take them out and put them right into a bowl with ice and cold water (a ice bath). Peel when cool.
Boil one of the eggs until hard-boiled. Reserve the other.