Formal Meal Structure

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Formal Meal Structure

Formal Meal Structure

Looking for a compliment worthy, yet easy to make Dinner Party Menu? Here are some crowd pleasing recipes for appetizers, entrees, and desserts, including tried and tested menus we've made. These recipes are easy to multiply, can be prepped ahead, and are perfect for any party, or any celebration.

Planning for a party can be really stressful. A lot of people get overwhelmed by the decisions on what to cook, which dishes pair well, appetizers to serve, and what drinks to offer.

Standard Course

A multicourse meal or full-course dinner is a meal with a sequence of "courses", almost invariably eaten in the evening or afternoon. Most Western-world multicourse meals follow a standard sequence, influenced by traditional French haute cuisine. Each course is supposed to be designed with a particular size and genre that befits its place in the sequence. There are variations depending on location and custom. The following is a common sequence for multicourse meals:

  • The meal begins with an hors d'oeuvre or appetizer. Usually a small serving that usually does not include red meat. In Italian custom, antipasto is served, usually finger food that does not contain pasta or any starch.
  • This may be followed by a variety of dishes, including a possible fish, shrimp, etc. course or other light fare. The number and size of these intermittent courses is entirely dependent on local custom.
  • Following these is the main course. This is the most important course and is usually the largest.
  • Next comes the salad course, although salad may often refer to a cooked vegetable, rather than the greens most people associate with the word. Note that in America since around 1960, the salad course (usually a small, simple green salad lightly dressed) is served at some point before the main course.
  • The meal may carry on with a cheese selection, accompanied by an appropriate selection of wine. In many countries cheeses will be served before the meal, and in the United States often between the main course and dessert, just like in most European countries. In the UK, more typically the cheese course will follow dessert. Nuts are also a popular after-meal selection (thus the common saying "from soup to nuts", meaning from beginning to end).
  • The meal will often culminate with a dessert, either hot or cold, sometimes followed with a final serving of hot or cold fruit and accompanied by a suitable dessert wine or aperitif

Formal Course Structure or Composition

One-course meal

  • Main course

Two-course meal

  • Soup or Salad for Lunch/Dinner
  • Main course

or

  • Main course
  • Dessert

Three-course meal

  • Soup/Salad
  • Main Course
  • Dessert

Four-course meal

  • Soup/Salad
  • Main Course
  • Accompaniment
  • Dessert

Five-course meal

  • Appetizer
  • Soup
  • Fish
  • Main course
  • Dessert
  • Cheese

Six-course meal

  • Hors d'oeuvres
  • Soup
  • Fish
  • Main Course
  • Salad
  • Dessert

or

  • Amuse-bouche
  • Soup
  • Hors d'oeuvres
  • Main course
  • Salad
  • Dessert
James Catanich, Search Engine Optimization Consultant

Hey Good Food Lovers!

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Welcome! My name is James and this is my internet kitchen hang-out. A self-confessed, un-balanced foodie sharing some of our family friendly recipes that are full of flavour. Life is too short for bland and boring. It's about finding balance (yea... right) and falling in love with food all over again!

James Catanich, SEO Expert & Self-confessed un-balanced foodie