Hors D’œuvres

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Hors D’œuvres a French term which has been current in a food context since the 17th century (in England, only from the 18th), indicating minor, usually cold, items of food served at the beginning of a meal. Until quite recent times the hors d’œuvres trolley was a familiar sight in restaurants, incorporating up to several dozen little recipients containing the various delicacies on offer. Typical items would be anchovies, sardines, slices of smoked fish, olives, radishes, sliced tomato (or other salad vegetable), various sorts of sausage and other charcuterie, etc. Hot hors d’œuvres could be, for example, miniature savoury pastries or tiny fritters; but these do not belong to the mainstream hors d’œuvres tradition.