APPETIZERS FOR PARTYS AND MEALS
Whether you call it antipasto, smorgasbord, zakuski, hors d'oeuvres, oretika, or in plain English, appetizers, it's all the same, for appetizers must spell the same charm, should always be colorful, bright, and attractive. They must be delectable bits designed to tantalize the appetite before a meal. They should not only create a desire for more, but they must, without taking the edge off his appetite, make a guest feel that there is something elegant in store for him later.
Hot or cold, they include canapes, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, clear soups, and small salads. Seafood cocktails, fruit cups, small salads, and clear soups as well as some large canapes and hors d'oeuvres, are served at the table as a first course. Canapes and hors d'oeuvres made to eat with the fingers instead of forks are served with cocktails before dinner. Parties, whether afternoon or evening, also call for canapes and hors d'oeuvres; the heartier type of appetizer may serve as the main dish of the buffet supper.
Canape is the French word originally meaning sofa, couch, or divan and now means an individual appetizer served hot or cold. Canapes are simply hors d'oeuvres served on a bread or other edible base. Fried or toasted bread cut in small fancy shapes, crackers, canape wafers, and pastry bases, are spread with or support a wide variety of highly seasoned foods. Tiny finger rolls, biscuits, and puff paste shells may be substituted for the usual bread or cracker base.
Hors d'oeuve is the French term which literally means "outside of work," hence served before a meal. The term is commonly accepted as the French word for appetizer. Americans tend to limit the term to any appetizing bit of food that can be eaten with the fingers. If it is greasy or hot, it will be speared on a cocktail pick, but usually it is still tiny enough not to require a fork.
Hors d'oeuvres range from complex combinations to such simple foods as stuffed celery, olives, pickles, and crisp iced vegetables. Assorted hors d'oeuvres may be arranged on a large tray or platter in a colorful and interesting arrangement. They frequently accompany the cocktail course and may take the place of salad at a buffet luncheon or supper, which case the more substantial types are served.
This is the appetizer table of Sweden and consists of a variety of foods, many of them similar to the hors d'oeuvres of the French. The great majority of them are far too heavy to be classed as appetizers. In fact restaurants in this country which offer Swedish food often list the Smorgasbord as a meal in itself.
Appetizers on a typical smorgasbord will offer several varieties of bread, many varieties of cheeses, cold cuts of meat, herring in three or four varieties, small meat balls, egg dishes, pate de fois Bras, caviar, anchovies, olives, pickles, cucumbers, radishes, shrimp, and even a variety of salads.
All rights reserved © Robert Falk, 2005
Mary Martin Mcbride Encyclopedia of Cooking - 1959