Medieval feasts and dinners were remarkably similar to our own modern manner of eating; today's meals generally start out light, such as with a soup or salad, then move on to the heavier items of meats and vegetables, and end with something sweet - and the more formal or special the occasion, the more likely the dessert will be something extravagant or showy. Medieval meals, too, followed such a pattern, but the reasons for the foods that were eaten, how they were prepared, and when they were eaten followed a train of thought much different than ours of today.
Dinners & feasts usually started with foods that were considered easily digestible, such as light meats, warm & moist foods such as soups and broths, moist fruits (especially peaches), and greens such as lettuce, cabbage, and "herbs." Spices were thought to warm the stomach, and were therefore an excellent stomach opener. Cheese was eaten both before and during the meal, as an aid to digestion and to help a "weak stomach." Foods that were more difficult to digest, such as beef & fatty pork and heavy fruits, like pears & chestnuts, were consumed later in the meal. In large feasts, very rich and exotic foods were served in smaller portions only to highly distinguished guests after the more filling and common dishes had been served to the entire hall. This practice would continue as the feast progressed, ending with the finest of delicacies being served to just the table of the king or nobleman in charge of the affair.