Spreads and pâtés were typically made of meat, perhaps as a way of pressing less-desirable cuts of meat into service. In fact, pâté in France was originally a country-person’s rustic food, only gaining the attention of “gourmets” starting in the second half of the 1800s.
Now, spreads and pâtés can be found made of vegetables and legumes as well as meat. They can form the basis of a light summer lunch, or be put out as nibblies for guests.
See also: Pâté