Appetizer/Starter/Vorspeise

October 5th, 2019 § 0 comments

HG is very fond of appetizers. Often, the main dish in restaurants is a letdown after a flavorful group of appetizers. HG likes to forgo entrees and make a meal of appetizers. American restaurants find this unsettling. BSK objects because when HG orders an appetizer meal, the rest of the table has to endure a long, annoying wait before they get their main dish. Why? HG doesn’t know. Doesn’t happen when dining in Paris. In the USA, an appetizer is called, yes, “appetizer”. In Britain, it’s a “starter” and in France (confusingly) “entree”. In German, it’s “vorspeise.” Same word in Yiddish. HG’s late, beloved father pronounced it “furshpice.” It was mandatory at HG’s childhood table in The Bronx. Father’s appetizer was a piece of schmaltz herring, slice of onion, pumpernickel bread. And, a hearty shot of Park & Tilford rye whiskey. (Substitute vodka on the rocks for the whiskey, and this remains one of HG’s favorites. Essential that the herring has to come for Russ & Daughters in New York). At the family dinner table this was usually followed by chopped liver or gefilte fish. Next course was chicken soup with noodles or kasha. Main dish and dessert were downhill for the most part. In the HG/BSK Prince Edward Island refrigerator are two great, classic appetizers: Oysters (South Lake and Red Head Select). Gravlax (Raw Atlantic salmon cured under weights with sprigs of dill and served with a mustard/dill/sugar sauce). Happily, BSK’s main dishes are as delicious as the appetizers. In HG’s gustatory memory bank are the Amsterdam raw herrings (when in season), dipped in raw onion and followed by Genever gin and a beer chaser. Excellent SJ would bring joy to family holiday feasts in Riverside, R.I, when he bought them for HG and grandson Haru at Russ & Daughters.

Dutch raw herring with onions on a dish

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