Fancy Eating For Dummies: What Are The Meal Courses?

meal courses

Do you ever get nervous before restaurant dates? Does the idea of extensive meal courses intimidate you? If your answer to at least one of those questions is yes, then you are in the right place.

This article is for anyone who is not sure of all the components that come into a meal course. Here, you can learn all about cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, canapes, salads, main dishes, and desserts.

The Basics of a Meal Course

Most meals contain one course, while a full-course meal contains at least three: appetizer, main dish, and dessert. When it comes to fancy eating, a three-course meal is somewhat of a standard. However, a meal can contain up to as much as twelve courses.


An appetizer, also known as a starter, serves as an introductory course to a meal. The portions are usually quite small, or even bite-sized. It is tasty enough to open up your appetite, but not enough to completely satisfy your hunger and put you off the rest of the food to come. Some classic appetizers include:

• Cocktails

One of the most popular appetizer cocktails is the shellfish cocktail. It is made of fresh prawns that are carefully placed on top of shredded lettuce and garnished with mayonnaise. Other examples include fine slices of fish, drinks, and fruits, along with piquant sauces.

• Hors D’oeuvres

Hors d’oeuvres may be served hot or cold, on individual plates. Common ingredients include olives, stuffed celery, pickled radishes, and fish.

• Canapes

A canape is a finger food, meaning that you should eat this course without the use of cutlery. A classic canape consists of three parts: a base, a creamy spread, and finally, a garnish.

Main Dishes

When it comes to main dishes, it is best to keep in mind the emphasis on the word “main.” This stage serves as the climax of a multiple course meal. It should be rich not only in flavor but also in the variety of ingredients that it is blended with. For that reason, it is also the heaviest course of a meal and contains the largest portion.

• Meat

Meats such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey are high in protein and therefore serve as the perfect base for a main dish. Other meats that are also great options for main dishes include venison, duck, wild boar, bison, goose, rabbit, and pheasant.

• Fish

The same principle goes for main dishes that use fish as their base. They, too, are high in protein and other essential nutrients that are sure to satisfy even the hungriest of stomachs.

There is also a wide range of vegetarian substitutes that are just as tasty, nutritious, and high in protein. Some great examples are soy foods like tofu or wheat gluten such as seitan.


Finally; something sweet! Desserts are presented as the finishing meal courses and are just as important as the rest, even though they are served at the very end. This is the course that rounds up the entire experience. And what better way to conclude your multiple course meals than to indulge in a soft cheesecake, juicy fruits, or even a dessert wine?

Nicole Middleton
Nicole calls herself a typical millennial girl and thrives on her share of social media, celebrity gossip, and all things viral content. She’s a big fan of pop music and plays the guitar as a hobby.