The origins of “Hors d’oeuvre”.
Hello and welcome back to Today’s World Kitchen.
The food industry is famous for many things but unless you work in the industry, most take the art form for granted. Every service, no matter how big or small, is a performance. And there are many types of plays, all of which we in the industry are skilled in performing.
One such play is the function. And what would a function be without an hors d’oeuvre? Not only does the appetizer serve in adding ambience to your grand function, the origins of the hors d’oeuvre, strangely enough, have a theatrical foundation.
A French word translating to ‘outside the work’, the hors d’oeuvre originated back in the 17th century, developing from a preceding incarnation called entrements. Translating to ‘between servings’ entrements were used in formal French dining back in the Middle Ages as elaborate forms of expression or display amongst the upper class.
It was during the rigid symmetrical style of service à la française, introduced in the 17th century, when entrements began to change. Gradually they were served ‘outside the work’ of this system, generally appearing before the main meal as a canapé, a type of hors d’oeuvre of savoury items on small toasted bread.
For more information on entrements and hors d’oeuvre, follow these links: