Antipasto

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

antipasto an Italian term which literally means ‘before the meal’ and refers to foods served as appetizers before the meal proper begins. Typical items are olives, pieces of raw or cured ham, marinated mushrooms or other vegetables, and items of seafood.

As the popularity of Italian food increased in the second half of the 20th century this term acquired wide currency in English. However, Ayto (1993) points out that the English language first took the word over at the end of the 16th century, naturalizing it to ‘antepast’.