What is flatware? A complete guide
Flatware is something we can’t live without, but what exactly is included under the term “flatware”? How does it differ from “dinnerware”? What kind of flatware is most fitting for your needs, and what are some of the best options available these days? If you’ve ever had a question along these lines or are currently in the market for some high-quality flatware, then this guide is for you.
What should be included
It seems like there are a million terms for the items we use to get food from the table to our mouths: flatware, dinnerware, silverware, cutlery, utensils, etc. To clarify, “flatware” typically includes forks, knives, and spoons, while “dinnerware” is more about the plates, bowls, cups, etc. “Silverware” is a bit of an outdated word now as modern sets rarely contain silver anymore. “Cutlery” and “utensils” are both more general terms and can include not only the tools you eat with but also those used for cooking or serving.
Even within the realm of “flatware,” there is still some confusion about what a classic set should contain. Most modern flatware sets typically include four place settings of five pieces each: a knife and fork for the main course, a salad or dessert fork, and both a dessert spoon and a teaspoon. It is possible to buy sets with slightly different configurations, such as an additional soup spoon or steak knife. Of course, you can also look for collections with 6, 8, or even 20 place settings.
What you should be looking for
You might be wondering what exactly makes a flatware set “high-quality”? Well, one of the first things you should look for is the percentages of chromium and nickel. Nickel gives flatware its shine and keeps it from rusting, so the higher the rate of nickel, the higher the quality of the set. Most stainless steel sets are labeled with percentages like 18/10, 18/8, or 18/0. Those with a ratio of 18/0 have no nickel and are likely to rust over time.
It is also essential to match your flatware set to your specific needs and style. Be on the lookout for “dishwasher safe” if that’s something you desire. You might also consider the thickness and weight of the pieces. Some people prefer more substantial flatware, pieces that have some heft to them. Others, like slim, light pieces. There are also many colors and designs to choose from, and it can be a lot of fun to mix and match your flatware with the rest of your dishes and accessories.
What else might you need
Speaking of other accessories, your flatware is only the beginning of a well-stocked and functional kitchen/dining space. In addition to flatware, proper table settings also include various plates, bowls, glasses, and other dishes. If mixing and matching, be sure to keep the materials in mind and the more visual aspects like color and pattern. Placemats, napkin rings, serving dishes, and utensils might also be required, and just like flatware, they often come in pre-packaged sets of varying cost and quality. Finally, it’s always a good idea to have back-ups because someone always seems to break, chip, or lose a piece, and it can be tricky to find the exact match at a later date.
Who knew there was so much to consider with flatware? But seriously, these are items that you will likely be using every day for years and years to come. It makes sense to ensure you’ve got a high-quality, functional set of flatware on your table. Ultimately, you want it to last and you want it to fit your needs. After that, the sky’s the limit.