168 pages
ISBN 0-394-22150-8
DDC 641.8'12




Illustrations by Wayne Terry
Reviewed by Esther Fisher

Esther Fisher is a professor of English at the University of Toronto and
a former food critic for The Globe & Mail.


Stern’s latest cookbook presents more than 150 recipes for
“starters”—soups, spreads, salads, hors d’oeuvres, and
pastas—and for first courses, such as quiches, tarts, and mousses. As
well as detailed illustrations of how to prepare many of the dishes,
Appetizers contains some helpful tips. Stern explains how to plan a
menu, taking into consideration the compatibility of various foods in
taste, appearance, and texture; and how to garnish and serve
comestibles. In the recipe section, she frequently offers alternative
ingredients for the diet-conscious. She also lists the ingredients for
becoming a good cook: being organized; knowing when not to follow a
recipe; and loving the task.

A passion for cooking is essential for some of the recipes—for
example, a walnut yeast bread with sesame seeds, which requires two
risings and is then used as a base for serving paté; or salmon
rillettes, which call for poaching fresh salmon, making mayonnaise,
chopping smoked salmon, combining everything, molding it, and hoping it
unmolds without breaking apart. But recipes as complex as these are rare
in this book. Most are fairly simple, straightforward, and familiar:
tapenade, tabbouleh, pizza, pasta, bruschetta, chowders, gazpacho, and
chicken wings with a variety of sauces. And there are several exotic
dishes, such as endive leaves stuffed with lobster paté and topped with
caviar; and “beggar’s purses”: tiny crкpes filled with sour
cream, cream cheese, and salmon caviar, then tied with green-onion

Stern is deservedly renowned for her recipes. This book’s greatest
virtue is giving readers so many options from which to choose ones to
suit their company and their style of entertaining. Any serious cook
will appreciate Appetizers, and even dilettantes may glean some ideas
from it.



Stern, Bonnie., “Appetizers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,