A course is one group of dishes served at a feast. This could be just a few dishes, but historical menus sometimes went as high as about two dozen dishes in one course.
In English feasts a course began with one or two potages and usually had a pastry at or near the end. One particularly large course, in "The ffest off Nevell Archebisshope of York and Chaunceler of Englond att his stallacon in York", as published in A Noble Boke off Cookry, begins with bland desere and dates in comfet, followed by about a dozen different kinds of birds, plus rabbits and sturgeon, with several kinds of dainties such as fritters and baked quinces (possibly in pastry) at the end of the course.
Course vs Remove
In the early history of the SCA, many people started using words that would sound more "medjeeval" to the ear and add to the ambiance of the event. One word quickly incorporated was remove, to mean course. It is actually an early modern term, and when properly used it refers to two dishes served to the same location on the table, one after the other. The correct word for the timeline of the SCA is "course".
- A history of the use of remove in SCA: http://dialup.pcisys.net/~mem/course.html