Definition of "entree" in food service

I am having difficulty getting reimbursed by my apartment house’s Board of Directors’ Treasurer for money spent for a fruit salad served in combination with a sloppy joes, both of which I call the “entree.” She insists the entree is only the meat. I believe my definition is just as correct as hers. Thank you. I would appreciate an answer as soon as possible.

That’s a silly way to determine reimbursements. It should be for a certain dollar amount per a period of time for consumables. There’s no need to micromanage which specific consumables are consumed during that period.

Entree is defined by the menu you are ordering on. If it doesn’t define meals in that manner, then your treasurer will have to come up with some other metric ahead of time.

But really, neither is an entree. Entrees are served at fancy restaurants. I doubt you were at a fancy restaurant since they serve sloppy joes and the menu was cheap enough for you two to quibble over.

One might argue that a person can only have one entree per meal. If you order two dishes, one is the entree and the other is a side dish or appetizer.

Just to confuse the issue, the term “entrée” is used differently in the U.S. and the U.K. In the U.S., the entree is the main course. In the U.K., it’s a preliminary course after the appetizer and before the main course:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrée

I’ve often wondered how the meaning managed to change so completely in crossing the Atlantic. Here in the UK it really means the “starter”, or first course. I’m not sure what you mean by “after the appetizer” - you might have a small amuse-bouche or something before the entrée in a posh restaurant, but if you’re having a three-course meal, it’s entrée, main course, dessert. It’s not really a very commonly used term in Britain, though, except in restaurants with Continental pretensions.

Moved from General Questions to IMHO.

samclem, Moderator

And in France, the entrée is what we call the appetizer. The main course is “plat.” Most restaurants offer a three-course meal: entrée, plat, and dessert.

The origin probably comes from dropping off the courses one by one from a many-course menu to get down to the present more limited one but doing the dropping of names in a different way in different countries. Originally there were many courses, including an entrée and a main course, with courses before and after them. In the U.S. the main course (among others) dropped off, while in the U.K. the appetizer (among others) dropped off. Now mostly in a restaurant it’s appetizer-entrée-dessert for a standard three-course meal in the U.S., while it’s entrée-main course-dessert for a standard three-course meal in the U.S. This is typical of how dialect differences happen. Seldom is it a matter of anyone deliberately changing the terminology of another region to something completely different. Usually if you look at the older terminology common to both regions, you can see that they’ve each re-interpreted the older terminology in their own way but for the same reasons. They both dropped courses because it’s rare to have many-course meals these days, but they’ve chosen to drop different names for some of the courses.

Bolding mine.

I think you mean the latter one to be U.K.

If you’re using “entree” to mean “main course” then there ain’t no way in hell a fruit salad counts as a main course. That’s a side dish, an appetizer, or a dessert, depending on when it was served/consumed.

Yeah, I don’t know the OP’s location, but here in the US I would never think of fruit salad as an “entree.”

I think the claim is that “sloppy joe and fruit salad” is an entree in the same sense that “burger and fries” is an entree (i.e. not part of the appetizer or dessert course).

Does this mean that the apartment complex doesn’t reimburse for beverages? Or for vegetarians?

I’d start by reviewing the reimbursement guidelines to see exactly what it says. If it really does say only “entree” then I’d have to agree with the lady on the Board of Directors. The entree in the US is going to be the biggest/heartiest portion of the meal that probably includes its own sides.

Assure her that next time you will get the $18 fettuccine alfredo plate instead of the $6 sloppy joe and fruit salad, unless she reimburses you the full $6. Seriously, it is NOT worth the company’s 15 minutes to argue over this shit. What is wrong with her?

I’m on the US side of Wendell Wagner’s breakdown and I would consider the fruit salad to be a side, not an entree. For informal events like church functions and casual business meetings (food served from a table in the back of the room) it might be better phrasing to say “main dish”. But if someone said “Hey pick up an entree and we’ll expense it” I would assume sandwiches or pizza without the extras. I would at least ask before adding on the breadsticks and salads.

Aside from the main question, where does one find apartment houses with boards of directors? And that reimburse for meals?

In the US, the entree is the main dish and any accompaniments served together.

Meat loaf - Main dish
Mashed potatoes - side
Steamed asparagus - side

Meat loaf served with mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus - entree

A fruit salad would never be considered an entree on its own unless it was the size of a watermelon. It’s either a side to a main or a dessert, depending on how it’s served.

Co-ops and condominium complexes have elected boards of directors. I suppose they might reimburse the occasional business (hiccup) lunch.

While it is commonly presented that way in some restaurants, an included side dish or two is far from universal in the US. I consider entree and main dish to be the same thing. If the OP was told he/she would be reimbursed for an entree and they went ahead and ordered something that didn’t automatically come as a side, then I think they’re SOL. If a meal was ordered that came with a choice of side and the Treasurer is putting up a fuss about that, then I think the OP has a good argument and the Treasurer is being an ass.