There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who go to restaurants that offer amuse-bouche and those who do not. For the sake of the uninitiated, an amuse-bouche (UH-mooz-boosh) is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre sent to your table compliments of the chef.

They don’t do that at Chipotle, you say? Then listen up, Skippy, and don’t chew with your mouth open.

An amuse-bouche (“mouth amuser”) is meant to prepare you and your guests for the hideously expensive meal to follow and to allow the chef to display his culinary chops.

Amuse-bouches (that’s the plural, and it’s pronounced just like the singular) are different from appetizers because you can’t order an amuse-bouche from the menu. The chef at his whim and discretion, isn’t that just like a chef, will send amuse-bouches for everyone at your table not long after your server person has taken your order.  

Nor is an amuse-bouche a canape, which is an hors d’oeuvre usually served on top of a small piece of bread, toast, puff pastry, or cracker with a topping and garnish. Canapes are eaten with the fingers and are usually consumed standing up while you hold a drink in your other hand. Most amuse-bouches cannot be eaten gracefully standing up as they often involve utensils.

If you’re not inspired to put on long pants and blow a car payment on dinner at an upscale restaurant just to sample an amuse-bouche assembled from a hollowed out and salted cucumber wedge, stuffed with a “slaw” of carrot, chives, scallion, banana pepper, fish sauce, and Korean chili flakes, fear not, you can create a down market facsimile from items you can find in your pantry or between the cushions of your sofa. To wit:

two M&M peanuts on a plastic spoon

a tater tot dusted with kief

a large thimble filled with shelled pistachios

a triangle of Spam served over a smear of mustard

half a hard boiled egg on a bed of crumbled beef jerky

Be sure to serve these to your guests before the takeout from Popeye’s chicken arrives.

Bon appetit!