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a test kitchen dossier

I have learned
To spell hors d’oeuvres,
Which still grates on
Some people’s n’oeuvres.
– Warren Knox

The French phrase hors d’oeuvre (often pluralized as hors d’oeuvres in English) literally means “outside of the work,” and originally referred to an outbuilding not incorporated into the architect’s main design of a house or building. The phrase eventually found its way into the culinary lexicon, meaning appetizers served apart from the main course of a dinner.

Hors d’oeuvres can encompass a wide variety of foods, and range from casual finger foods to elegant nibbles. Their versatility makes them ideal for any kind of event, either as snacks taken at the cocktail hour prior to a seated meal, or as the main menu for a party where the guests won’t be seated. Tapas, dim sum, antipasti, antojitos and appetizers all can fit into the theme of hors d’oeuvres, leaving the menu open to your imagination.

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