appetizer is a
small portion of a tasty food or drink at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the appetite.
Sicilian cuisine has no tradition of antipasto. It was an accomplishment when the majority of people could get
three meals a day!
the baronial cuisine of the rich and noble families, the Sicilian chefs, called Monzu’ (a
contraction of monsieur), would arrange a table with toasted bread
entrenched in olive oil, olives, anchovies and other small appetizing dishes, served with wine when they were not
ready on time to serve their masters and guests at the banquet.
These morsels of finger food were not part of
the planned banquet; in fact, this food was served “outside the work” and therefore was called, from the French,
The hors d’oeuvre is defined in the
Webster’s Dictionary as “an appetizer, made of olives, anchovies, etc., served usually at the beginning of a
I do not know the Sicilian translation of the word antipasto, and in my family, the antipasto was not customary to our meals. When we had
guests and it was time to serve pranzo (dinner), a small table would be set with olives, anchovies, a selection of
vegetables in oil and vinegar, occasionally a frittata cut into bite-size pieces, some wine and pane fritto (fried bread) or toasted sliced
bread, moistened with olive oil, herbs and spices.
In the late ‘50s, when the economic boom improved social conditions in Italy, l’antipasto became part of all formal
dinners and was not limited to olives, anchovies, etc, but expanded to include verdure fritte (fried
vegetables), fish, meats,
cheeses and many contorni (side