The first course is the soup course. Soup can be hot or cold and is meant to prepare the palate for the meal to come. The soup should be of a different texture than the salad, so many people opt for a creamy soup before a salad course.
The salad course can come at the beginning of the meal, right after the soup, or at the end of the meal, before the dessert course. A crisp salad served with a tangy or spicy dressing works well for this course, especially when served right after a creamy soup.
The appetizer comes next. This can be a small serving of pasta or another introduction to the main course or entree.
The entree or main course is generally a hot food served with vegetables. Roast beef with seasonal vegetables is one example of an entree.
Finally, dessert is served. Dessert is a sweet dish that offsets the rest of the meal. Therefore, if a person serves a heavy main course, the dessert should be light.
Many formal dinner parties have palate cleaners between the courses. This can be something as simple as a glass of water or a cup of green tea, to something more extravagant, like sorbet.Learn more about Cooking