By Robert Hancock
Senior Curator & Director of Collections
The Confederate White House, like most affluent homes during the war, had an exterior kitchen. The reason for the separate kitchen facilities was to prevent the smells of cooking permeating the entire house. Also, you did not want to run the risk of burning the house down preparing Sunday dinner. To keep food warm until it made it from the kitchen to the sideboard or dining table, a covered, silver-plated tray called an entrée dish was used. These trays also served as a sort of chafing dish with a reservoir built into the bottom that allowed hot water to be added to help keep the food warm. The top handle can be removed, thus allowing the lid to be used as another serving tray. Stylish and versatile!