The Appetizer Atlas
A World of Small Bites

by Arthur L. Meyer and Jon M. Vann

The Appetizer Atlas
Click to buy The Appetizer Atlas

Whether appearing on the plate as tapas from Spain, canapes from France, mezze from North Africa, or Hong Kong's signature dim sum, appetizers make dining out—or in—exciting. Waking up the palate while taking the edge off hunger, these diminutive delights range from tempting starters and savory snacks to light meals. Most often, they rely on simple, inexpensive ingredients and many require little cooking time. Best of all, these enticing tidbits hail from every comer of every continent, offering a rich diversity of shapes, textures, and flavors.

For accomplished home cooks, as well as enterprising caterers and creative professional chefs, The Appetizer Atlas: A World of Small Bites presents a culinary tour of the planet, one irresistible morsel at a time. Seasoned chefs and restaurateurs with expertise in regional cooking on a global scale, Arthur L. Meyer and Jon M. Vann chart the history, culture, and distinctive styles and tastes of cuisine from North America to Southeast Asia, from the Middle East to the United Kingdom, through the specialties cherished for whetting local appetites.

Arranged geographically, this sweeping cookbook divides the whole wide world of hors d'oeuvres (from empanaditas to blinis) into twenty-eight regions. At every stop, the authors start with an overview of the defining culinary influences, from homegrown produce to religious traditions. Then they move on to showcase mouthwatering appetizers representative of the region. Each of the 400 authentic recipes has been meticulously researched and kitchen-tested to ensure ease of preparation and perfection of results for chefs and serious home cooks.

Kicking off with the crowd-pleasing favorites of the continental United States—Buffalo Wings, Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes, and Barbecued Pork Spareribs, among them—The Appetizer Atlas serves up a smorgasbord of tiny treats, for starters:

  • Stamp and Go (codfish fritters) from the Caribbean
  • Pupusas (tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans, or pork rinds) from Central America
  • Panaeng Neua (beef meatballs in hot peanut sauce) from Thailand
  • Keema Kofta (lamb meatballs with cashews) from the India
  • Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with aromatic rice) from the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Kroppkakor (potato dumplings filled with ham and onion) from the Baltic States
  • Gougeres (savory cheese puffs) from France

Each recipe comes with step-by-step instructions, pointers on advance preparation, and simple guidelines for expanding the number of servings. Throughout, and in a special glossary, the authors provide clear descriptions of unfamiliar ingredients and point cooks in the direction of mail order sources, the World Wide Web, and their own backyard to find them, rather than compromise a recipe's authenticity with substitutions. While noting the trend in supermarket chains broadening their stock to serve the growing interest in global cuisines, Meyer points out: "In the United States, it is also easier to find local markets and shops specializing in regional foods as communities become more ethnically diverse. It is not uncommon to find Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, or Hispanic markets in even the smallest communities in America."

Infused with a sense of international adventure, enhanced by color photographs of exotic dishes, The Appetizer Atlas invites cooks of all levels to "graze" around the world and revel in every morsel along the journey.

About the Authors

Arthur L. Meyer is a classically trained chef, master grade baker, and cooking instructor with extensive international experience. Jon M. Vann is an award-winning chef, restaurant consultant, and food writer for The Austin Chronicle. They are the co-founders of Austin's acclaimed Clarksville Restaurant, specializing in global cuisine. They both live in Texas.

  • The Appetizer Atlas
  • A World of Small Bites
  • by Arthur L. Meyer and Jon M. Vann
  • Wiley 2003
  • Cloth; 624 pages; $45.00
  • ISBN: 0-471-41102-7
  • Information provided by the publisher.

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The Appetizer Atlas


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