Mattia Giegher, Li tre trattati (1629)
Now for a more humble feast, or an ordinary proportion which any good man may keepe in his family for the entertainment of his true and worthy friends… it is good then for him that intends to feast, to set downe the full number of his dishes… and of these sixtene is a good proportion for one course unto one messe, as thus for example:
First, a shield of Brawne with mustard: Secondly, a boyl’d Capon: Thirdly, a boyl’d piece of Beefe: Fourthly, a chine of Beefe rosted: Fifthly, a Neats-tongue rosted: Sixthly, a Pig rosted: Seventhly, chewets bak’d: Eighthly, a Goose rosted: Ninthly, a Swan rosted: Tenthly, a Turkie rosted: the eleventh, a haunch of Venison rosted: The twelfth, a Pasty of Venison: The thirteenth, a Kid with a pudding in the belly: The fourteenth, an Olive Pie: The fifteenth, a couple of Capons: The sixteenth, a Custard or Dowsets.
Now to these full dishes may be added in Sallets, Fricases, Quelquechoses, and devised paste, as many dishes more, which make the full service no lesse then two and thirty dishes, which is as much as can conveniently stand on one Table… and after this manner you may proportion both your second and third course…
Gervase Markham, A Way to Get Wealth
Sometimes it’s a long week and you’re tired and you just need to get some food on the table. And you know what? That’s fine! No one is expecting more than 32 dishes. Per course.