Strict convention in England and America at one time decreed that the formal dinner should begin with soup, but that custom is no longer binding even in the most formal household. Other dishes to introduce the meal have crept in and because of their savory qualities have found ready and general acceptance. Appetizers, they are usually called. Sometimes they are referred to as relishes or as hors d'oeuvres, because they are often a glorified edition of the old side dish now given a conspicuous place as a separate course by itself.

Characteristics of the Appetizer

The appetizer must have distinct, piquant flavor and appetite-whetting qualities. Pickled and salted foods, acids, pepper and paprika play a conspicuous part in their manufacture. Raw oysters and clams, grapefruit, melons and fruit cocktails, canapes and small sandwiches spread with pastes of sardines, anchovies and caviar, lobster and crabmeat, pate de foie gras, cheese, olives and other mixtures of high flavor, deviled eggs, small succulent salads, may all be included without prejudice in the list of appetizers. In parts of the United States, the dinner is always begun with the salad as the appetizer.