Main course

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This article is about the meal component. For the Bee Gees album, see Main Course.

The main course is the featured or primary dish in a meal consisting of several courses. It usually follows the entrée ("entry") course. In the United States and parts of Canada, it may in fact be called "entrée".

A sirloin steak dinner. The sirloin steak is the main course here.

The main dish is usually the heaviest, heartiest, and most complex or substantive dish on a menu. The main ingredient is usually meat or fish; in vegetarian meals, the main course sometimes attempts to mimic a meat course[citation needed]. It is most often preceded by an appetizer, soup, and/or salad, and followed by a dessert. For those reasons the main course is sometimes referred to as the "meat course".

In formal dining, a well-planned main course can function as a sort of gastronomic apex or climax. In such a scheme, the preceding courses are designed to prepare for and lead up to the main course in such a way that the main course is anticipated and, when the scheme is successful, increased in its ability to satisfy and delight the diner. The courses following the main course then calm the palate and the stomach, acting as a sort of dénouement or anticlimax.

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