Chafing dishes found in the ruins of Pompeii prove that this style of cookery is nothing new. Used to warm or cook food, a chafing dish consists of a container (today, usually metal) with a heat source directly beneath it. Heat can be provided by a candle, electricity, or a solid fuel such as Sterno. Usually there is a larger dish that is used as a water basin into which the dish containing the food is placed. This prevents the food from burning.
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