In Europe appetizers have been served for centuries. Their origin has not been discovered yet, but it is known that the Romans used to start their feasts by nibbling celery lettuce and other vegetables. It has been assumed that also in old Greece serving appetizers was customary. Later, the other nations adopted appetizers, enhancing and improving them. Contemporary nations with the tradition of serving appetizers are the Russians and the French who spread it worldwide.
Appetizers in Vojvodina are prepared from various ingredients: cheese, smoked meat, eggs and pastry.
One of the most famous types of cheese is mokrinski cheese. The recipe for its preparation is a professional secret, mothers or grandmothers convey the knowledge to their daughters through generations.
There is a famous story about this cheese, when Mika Antić, a famous poet born in Mokrin, saw mokrinski cheese in the menu of the cafe ” Skadarlija ” in Queens, New York. Mika said: I stood numbed by what I saw. Mokrinski cheese in New York ! ? In the centre of New York? I asked to see the owner. He told me:
” You know there are some people here who use the traditional way of making this cheese, the same as in their home country. I guarantee its original quality ” .
Mika said: ” But I come from Mokrin, you can’ t deceive me. I have eaten it since my childhood ” . Mika tried it: ” Yes, it is original. Well my dear Mokrin, thank you for the cheese which is eaten today on different continents .”
Apart from mokrinski cheese, there are various types of cheese manufactured in Vojvodina such as: švapski, somborski, cheese in slices „ sir u kriškama ” , samokiš, pivnički, spread cheese „ sirdik ” , bećarski, etc.
Appetizers of piquant taste make it easier for the guest to wait for the rest of the meal. Among the well known appetizers is ” vojvođanska zakuska ” which includes : cheese, gronik ( pork neck ) with garlic, sausages, ( sremska, ratarska, Slovak ) , kulen, džigernjača, krvavice, hurka, švargla ( various homemade sausages ) , smoked ham, homemade bacon, lard, cracklings, cracklings pate, liver pate, rice, pork aspic, etc.
For manufacturing Slovak kulen, a famous specialty, the high quality pork meat ; leg, loin and shoulder are used.
Among the famous appetizers there are various types of pates made from : goose liver, cracklings, pheasant and fish.
Pork aspic used to be served at royal palaces and made from fresh pork scratchings, hocks, meat and garlic and sprinkled with chopped parsley and milled red paprika.
In earlier times, hot side dishes were served at dinner after soup. Hot side dishes can also be served at lunch when appetizers are served, but have to belong to the category of ” light appetizers ” , such as various puff pastry items ( shells, rolls, pies, etc. ) . Pastry is often served as hot side dish but also as the main dish or dessert in Vojvodina.