A dish may be served on tableware, or may be eaten in one's hands.
Instructions for preparing a dish are called recipes.
Many dishes have specific names, such as sauerbraten, while others have descriptive names, such as "broiled ribsteak". Many are named for particular places, sometimes because of a specific association with that place, such as Boston baked beans or bistecca alla fiorentina, and sometimes not: poached eggs Florentine essentially means "poached eggs with spinach". Some are named for particular individuals:
- To honor them: for example, Brillat-Savarin cheese, named for the 18th-century French gourmet and famed political figure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin;
- After the first person for whom the dish was prepared: for example, Chaliapin steak, made by the order of the Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin in 1934 in Japan;
- After the inventor, either being given the name by that person or because the dish was created in the inventor's kitchen.
Some dishes have many stories about their creation, which can sometimes make it difficult to know the true origin of the name of a dish.
- 'Oeufs pochés Florentine'/Poached eggs with cheese sauce and spinach, p.138 in Practical Cookery, by Victor Ceserani and Ronald Kinton, 10th ed. Hodder Education, 2004.
- Froc, Jean (2006). Les Traditions fromagères en France. Versailles: Quae. pp. 82–83. ISBN 2759200175.
- "帝国ホテル生まれのシャリアピンステーキ" [Chaliapin steak we served for Feodor Chaliapin at the Imperial Hotel] (in Japanese). the Imperial Hotel. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
- "帝国ホテル伝統のシャリアピン・ステーキ" [recipe for Chaliapin steak made at the Imperial Hotel] (in Japanese). U.S. Meat Export Federation. Archived from the original on 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2016-11-01.