The modern chafing dish complete consists of stand and lamp, the blazer or dish proper, a cutlet dish and the hot water pan. The cutlet dish does not come with many of them, and in the cheap ones the hot water pan is also left out; but any cheap basin will answer the purpose. The wick in the lamp must be looked after. The asbestos wick, or the common ball five-stranded lamp wick (cut into 5-inch lengths, and 12 to 14 of these rolled together) may be used with equal satisfaction. Trim the wicks evenly at the top and fill the lamp about half full of alcohol. It is not necessary to use high proof spirits; wood alcohol will answer and comes much cheaper. Keep the wicks quite low and do not light them until ready to begin operations.
As a general rule the cooking is done in the blazer - over the flame when a quick, intense heat is required, and over the hot water to re-warm or cook more slowly. Put out the light as soon as the cooking is finished. Heat the dishes beforehand and prepare the foods for the chafing dish in the kitchen before seating yourself at the table with the chafing dish before you.
Wafers or pieces of toast are the usual accompaniment to chafing dish foods. Anything to re-warm or anything that will cook quickly can be done in a chafing dish, whether fish, flesh, fowl, eggs or vegetables.