Entree Dishes were introduced from France during the 18th century. By the 19th century, entree dishes were still being used to serve food prior to the main course – hence, the name entree dish. Today, they are used to serve food with the main course. Entree dishes are usually rectangular in shape but sometimes oval. They have a cover of slightly smaller dimensions than the bottom dish but the same shape, with a removable handle. The removal of the handle allows the cover and the bottom dish to be used side by side during the meal.
In order to keep the contents of the dish warm, some entree dishes were furnished with so – called heaters in which boiling water was placed. Others were made with a heater as a combined part. These generally had a small opening with a screw cap at one end into which the water could be poured.
There were very few examples of entree dishes made before 1780. The vast majority were made in the late Georgian and Victorian eras. Entree Dishes are still being made today and are usually copies of an earlier style.