This tidbit comes from "One Hundred Recipes for the Chafing Dish" ©1894. I'd like to start off with this introduction quote from the book. I wrote a post back in 2013 also on the chafing dish here's the link.
THIS Book is intended to give pleasure to those who enjoy using a Chafing Dish. The formulas are simple, easy to follow, and are not designed to prove that elaborate dishes can be prepared, but that many articles of food can easily be made very delicate, toothsome and enjoyable.
Next I'm going to include excerpts (tidbits) from the book:
More than two thousand years ago the Chafing Dish fulfilled its true office as the promoter of man's palatable pleasures at the tables of the wealthy Greeks and Romans.
The Chafing Dish is a cosmopolitan vessel. It belongs to all nations. It was no less appreciated by the French than the English.
The Chafing Dish ever identified with the progressive phase of life appeared in America in 1720.
The mastery of the Chafing Dish is one of the undisputed arts where a man and woman may share equal privileges and triumphs. A man may prove his skill in cooking with it without detracting from his dignity and a woman can scarcely manipulate it without adding to her charm.
The Chafing Dish not only makes possible the sincerest expression of the most perfect hospitality, but it seems the true symbol of good fellowship. It develops a spirit of royal camaraderie. Even a pessimist would be inclined to judge his neighbor by his excellencies and not by his defects, as succulent odors whet the appetite and carry the sweet assurance of coming gustatory joys.
Verily, " a good dish sharpens the wit and softens the heart." Who can measure the beneficent influence of exquisite savours!
The Chafing Dish is the culinary censer exceedingly important feature in successful Chafing Dish cooking, is that the wicks of the lamp should be perfectly trimmed, and the reservoir about one half full of alcohol, after cooking a dish, and when making preparations for another, look carefully after this feature.
Have the wicks so regulated that all available flame shall be entirely under the dish, and that none of it shall come up the sides.
As the water is very liable to boil over, it is best to have a tray under the Chafing Dish to catch it, or any other drippings.
The rest of the book is filled with recipes. If you're interested in a copy of the book it is available from Google Books. Here's the link One Hundred Recipes for the Chafing Dish
Can't you just see your characters using or rather trying to use one of these at the table? Oh the situations that could be written.