An Appetizer is excellent to serve at family gatherings, work or school functions. The small portion size allows everyone a chance to taste the food and the appetizer pairs well with any type of beverage. It's a great way to gather people together prior to the main course being served. Some of the attraction to appetizers is that they are usually clean enough to be finger foods. Also, these small bites can pack a powerful flavor! Making an assortment of appetizers will allow you to use meat, vegetable, fruit, and even dips. These are easy, inexpensive and fun to make.
An appetizer is originally known as an hors d'oeuvre. Hors d'oeuvres may be served at the dinner table as a part of the meal, or they may be served before seating. Formerly, appetizers were also served between courses.
If there is an extended period between when guests arrive and when the meal is eaten, for example during a cocktail hour, these might serve the purpose of sustaining guests during the wait, in the same way, that apéritifs are served as a drink before meals.
It is also an unwritten rule that the dishes served as appetizers do not give any clue to the main meal. They are served with the main meal menu in view either in hot, room temperature or cold forms; when served hot they are brought out after all the guests arrive so that everyone gets to taste the dishes.
As I always say, please feel free to browse through the recipes below and find out which appetizer is your favorite!
Photography by: Jennifer Causey, Food Network, Taste of Home, Victor Protasio, Genius Kitchen, Ryan Liebe, Erin Kunkel