A dish in gastronomy is a specific food preparation, a "distinct article or variety of food," with cooking finished, and ready to eat, or be served.
A dish may be served on tableware, or may be eaten out of hand; but breads are generally not called dishes.
Instructions for preparing a dish are called recipes. Some dishes, for example vanillaice cream with fudge sauce, rarely have their own recipes (and are not found in most cookbooks), as they are made by simply combining two ready to eat preparations of foods.
Many dishes have specific names (e.g.sauerbraten), while others are simply described ("broiled ribsteak"). Many are named for particular places, sometimes because of a specific association with that place like Boston baked beans or bistecca alla fiorentina. Sometimes not: poached eggs Florentine ends up meaning essentially "with spinach". Some are named for particular individuals, perhaps to honor them including Brillat-Savarin cheese named for the 18th-century French gourmet and political figure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, or perhaps because the dish was first prepared for them such as Chaliapin steak made by the order of the Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin in 1934 in Japan, or perhaps they named it for themselves because they invented the dish, or perhaps because the dish was invented in their kitchens. Because of the many stories that have been told about the names of different dishes, it is often hard to know exactly where the names came from.