Chafing Dish Cookery

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Chafing Dish Cookery as practised in modern times, depends on a piece of kitchen equipment which changed its form twice; once between classical and medieval times, and then again when open-hearth cookery gave way to the use of ovens in the 19th century. Chafing is derived from the French chauffer, to heat.

The prototype in classical times was described by Cicero as ‘a kind of saucepan of Corinthian brass, made with such art that its contents cook instantly and almost without fire. This simple and ingenious vessel possesses a double bottom; the uppermost one holds the light delicacies destined for dessert and the fire is underneath.’