Casual eaters (and even real foodies, in some instances) usually overlook the importance of these tiny bits or rolls of food served before the main course. Who cares about dinner rolls and soups when you have a big slice of steak to look forward to? But when you give much thought to it, the first course is the most significant meal after the entrée and the main course.
Hors d’oeuvres, or more commonly known as appetisers, are tasty meals that are served in little quantities. They typically include different types of finger foods and soups that are specifically made to excite taste buds and get your ‘foodie motor’ running. But what do they do exactly?
The Excitement of Foretasting: The Functions of Appetisers
From the eaters’ end, the appetiser is what grabs their attention. It tells pretty much what’s in store for them. From the perspective of the cook, it creates an impression. Even if customers find the main course disappointing, they will remember the appetiser if it was good enough.
Hors d’oeuvres balance the entire meal. If the entrée or the main course includes red meats, such as beef, a light appetiser, such as salmon slices, can complement the main meal. Proper balancing of flavours is important to prevent temporary taste fatigue. The function of appetisers becomes more apparent in occasions that involve cocktails. The taste of the small morsels of food will offset the taste of the cocktail drinks. It also cleanses the palate of the eater right before starting on the main course.
The Hallmarks of a Good Hors d’oeuvre
The qualities of good appetisers may not be universal, as there are different cuisines out there. Generally, appetisers should not fill you up. Restaurants, such as Manolas Bros, say that when it comes to soups, the base should start with a good stock. It shouldn’t be too watery or too thick. The texture, on the other hand, depends on the solid ingredients in the soup. The vegetables, for instance, shouldn’t be too soft or crunchy.
Finger food need not be elaborate. One important thing to remember is to choose the staples that will create an interesting contrast in taste when eaten before the main course. You won’t go wrong with cheeses, cold cuts and asparagus wrapped in bacon.
Appetisers are more important than you think. Before you look forward to anything else in the meal, excite your taste buds with bruschetta, roast nuts or devilled eggs.