THE APPETIZER ATLAS: A World of Small Bites
Marty Martindale

By Arthur L. Meyer and Jon M. Vann

In Spain, appetizers are called tapas, in France canapés, in North Africa mezze and in Hong Kong, it’s dim sum.  These days  when so many of us order a couple of appetizers  to make pleasing meal, this book comes just in time.

In the Atlas, authors Meyer and Vann, each seasoned chefs and experts in global regional cooking, track the history, geography and culture of foods from North America to Southeast Asia, from the Middle East to the UK. They are as professionals appealing to chefs as well as serious home cooks.

The physical arrangement for this 624-page, 400-recipe food book is superb. Twenty-eight chapters feature separate regional cuisines. They are sequenced geographically. Historical/geographical introductions open each chapter. The book’s detailed 27-page glossary plus 20-page bibliography well document this important work very well. Each researched and kitchen-tested recipe comes with step-by-step instruction, handy chef notes, pointers on advance preparation and simple guidelines for expanding number of servings. Occasional color photos stimulate a good cook’s appetite.

  • North America’s Southwest, find their Warm Cheese Dip with Chiles which is a savory blend of blanco, jack and longhorn cheeses, Roma tomatoes, chipolte chilies, adobo sauce, heavy cream and Ancho chili.
  • From Mexico, they present Wild Mushroom Turnovers with Tomatillo-Mushroom Sauce highlighted with epazote leaves and Serrano chilies.
  • From the Dominican Republic comes Rum-Marinated Fried Chicken Drumettes with soy, orange, lime, hot paprika and other seasonings.
  • From Costa Rico we find Angel Hair Pasta (Fideo) and Three-Cheese Flan which combines butter with farmer’s cheese, Muenster cheese and Parmesan cheese touched off with a Serrano chili tomato sauce.
  • From Argentina they present Beef Pie with Apricots, sirloin served with pungent spices, wine, raisins and apricots.
  • From Brazil, exciting Bahian-Style Mussels come with malagueta chilies, lime, wine and coconut milk.
  • From Hawaii, Marinated Sea Bass in Lime Juice and Coconut Milk with the thickened coconut milk Thai green chili, green papaya and crisp greens.
  • From Malaysia, Sweet-and-Sour Eggplant Curry with Pineapple in Lacy Pancakes, a dish with many spices, hot red chilies, tamarind paste and fresh ginger.
  • From Korea, Korean-Style Crab Cakes made with soy, sesame, crushed red pepper, rice and a carrot.
  • From China, Pan-Fried Potsticker Dumplings made with bok choy, pork, water chestnuts, Asian sauces, dipped in a soy, vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame and chili sauce.
  • From Vietnam, Shrimp Pate on Sugarcane and Lemongrass, a delight made from tamarind paste, soybean sauce, chili paste, peanut butter and roasted peanuts with a pate of shrimp, roasted rice powder, salt pork, mint lettuce, cucumber and jalapeno chilies.
  • From Cambodia, Spicy Pork Bundles Wrapped in Lettuce, made with galangal, red chilies, peanuts Thai chilies along with lettuce, mint, basil, mung bean sprouts, cucumber and leek.
  • From Thailand, Beef Meatballs in Hot Peanut Sauce made with red curry paste, thick coconut cream, peanut butter, Belgian endive leaves and dry roasted peanuts.
  • From the Indian Subcontinent, Curried Shrimp with Tomato and Tamarind, ghee, fenugreek, fresh curry leaves and Serrano chilies.
  • From the Middle East, Lebanese Steak Tartare, made with tenderloin, spices, mint and pine nuts
  • From Tunisia, Olives Stuffed with Ground Beef in a Spice Ragout, a dish made with Tabil spices, tomato, lemon, harissa, large Sicilian olives, toasted fennel seeds and Anaheim green chilies
  • From North Africa, Rice-Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Sole with Sweet and Sour Sauce made with white raisins, saffron threads, wine vinegar, orange flower water, cream of rice, almonds, ginger, Medijool dates and fish fumet.
  • From Scandinavia and the Baltic States (Sweden), Beef, Potato, Beet and Caper Sausage (Lindstrom’s Beef) made with pickling liquid and paprika.
  • From Switzerland, delicate Cheese Souffles in a Tomato Shell, Gruyere cheese and spices flavor the soufflés baked in hollowed, large tomatoes.
  • From Italy, Pumpkin-Filled Tortellini with Rabbit Sauce contains sage, mixed spices, balsamic vinegar, dry red wine, Parmesan cheese and finely crumbled amaretti biscuits.
  • From Spain, Garlic Shrimp with Sherry. This simple dish uses Anaheim chilies to accent the sherry flavor.
  • From France, the simple Sauteed Duck Breasts with Apples and Calvados in Pastry Cases
  • From Scotland, Pheasant and Leek Pies with Port Cream Sauce, utilize juniper berries, heavy cream and crimini mushrooms.

The Appetite Atlas will make a valuable addition to any food book collection.

Marty Martindale

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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