sion played overseas but the American
brand! Now we have an Americanized
definition, with a truly American sports
analogy, to justify how we eat appetizers. Truffle fries served “up front” would
indicate a small portion of food that
stimulates a desire for more (duh), and
indicate that more food is to follow (such
as a gargantuan-sized burger with tomato,
lettuce, and onion).
But I notice that everyone is raising
their hands requesting to speak. Professor
Kingsfield never had a mob scene in his
classroom like this. Okay, I will concede
that the legal definition of “appetizer”
might be ambiguous and need more con-
text. For example, can a person choose to
eat only an appetizer, i.e., a small portion
before more food that would naturally
follow the appetizer course, or must one,
to be in full legal compliance with the
definition of eating a meal, eat both an ap-
petizer and additional food that follows?
If the latter is true, that a person must eat
additional food following an appetizer to
eat a meal, then an appetizer alone can
never be considered part of a legal meal.
I would digress to consider whether a
Las Vegas buffet is a meal, rather than a
collection of appetizers served before a
meal. What a legal enigma! Cauliflower,
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The Law Relating to Appetizers
Fortunately, there is binding legal authority to resolve our legal conundrum. In
Bogle v. Magone,
11 the U.S. Supreme Court
had the opportunity to consider various
gastronomic terms, including the concept
of an appetizer.
In that case, the Port of New York
sought to collect taxes on imported fish
12 The importer argued that fish
pastes should have been assessed as “fish,
prepared or preserved” at a 25 percent
ad valorem tax rate.
13 However, the Port
assessed the imported fish paste as a
“sauce,” which they assessed at a 35 percent ad valorem tax rate.
In discussing the Webster’s Dictionary
definition of “sauce” and the common usage of that word, the U.S. Supreme Court
found that a sauce is: “a condiment, generally but not always of liquid form, eaten
as an addition to and together with a dish
of food, to give it flavor and make it more
palatable . . . or to stimulate the appetite for
other food to be eaten afterwards.”
The Court continued its gastronomic
journey by attempting to explain what
foods eaten afterwards might consist of,
stating in a clearly worded judicial pronouncement: “For instance, cheese eaten
with bread, or ham or chicken eaten in a
sandwich, or anchovies or herrings, caviar
or shreds of salt fish, eaten, whether with
or without bread, as an appetizer before
a meal, would hardly be called a sauce.”
Now we understand the magic of the
law: clarification of terms that society
tends to confuse through its imprecise
use of language. No longer can slick advertisements mislead the public into believing that chicken wings, eaten before
a meal as an appetizer, are a substitute
for dinner. The Supreme Court stated
117 years ago that appetizers are eaten
before a meal and, logically, that gastro-nomical event cannot be the same as the
meal that follows.
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The Just Desserts
Appetizers are not legally considered “a
meal,” but rather are foods that precede a