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About Chafing Dishes

Deriving their name from the French chauffer, ?to make warm?, chafing dishes can be used in the preparation of more delicate foods which need to be cooked gently, away from harsh direct heat, such as cheese fondue or welsh rarebit. They can also be used to keep food warm in a buffet or catering arrangement or while it is waiting to be served up from carvery counters. Curries, stews, casseroles and pasta dishes are among those foods which can benefit from the use of this handy kitchen implement. Chafing dishes have a long history. Evidence of their use can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when ceramic dishes were heated with charcoal. In the late 19th century chafing dish suppers came into fashion and cookbooks related to the use of the item began to appear. Designed to be conveniently portable and easy to use, chafing dishes today tend to be made of ceramics or, more usually, stainless steel. They are most commonly rectangular, but can be purchased as round or oval dishes. One of the most popular types is the bain marie, in which a container holding the food is suspended in a larger try of hot water, thus distributing the heat evenly. Available are a wide variety of chafing dishes, often sold as sets, with extra pans. Spares and accessories such as spare heating fuel including gels and methanol can also be obtained. Used and new items are offered, with variations such as stackable pans, twin pans for separating food items, roll top and even electric chafing dishes.