Knives made of sharpened stones and bone were early on used as both weapons and for eating. Primitive knives decorated with feathers, jewels, and carved designs were the utensil of choice at dining tables until the Middle Ages when forks also came into vogue. In 1669, French King Louis XIV banned sharp knives on the dinner table and replaced them with blunter blades. Stainless steel knives were introduced during the 20th century.
Spoon comes from the Anglo-Saxon word spon, which means “a splinter or chip of wood” because primitive spoons were carved from wood, bone, stone, shell, and other materials. They existed in ancient Egypt, India, and both the Greek and Roman cultures, where spoons with pointed stems were used for eating soup. The design of the spoon evolved throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods and gained its modern look around the 18th century.
Ancient Egyptians had the first table forks, while the Qijia culture used the utensil between 2400-1900 BCE. During the 16th century, Italy’s Catherine de Medici made the use of forks popular.
Types of Flatware
1. Salad Forks
Salad forks are one of the most common types of forks found in silverware sets. You can purchase sets of salad forks specifically as well. If you know anything about proper table etiquette, you know that certain types of forks, spoons, and knives are meant to serve specific purposes. In this case, salad forks are meant for eating salad.
You will find that most people use salad forks for eating literally anything that a person would typically use a fork for. These forks are well-made and large enough to work for many purposes.
2. Dinner Forks
As you might expect from the name, dinner forks are meant to be the main type of fork that people use for their meals. Dinner forks are large enough to easily be used for eating primary courses where meat is the main focus. You will want to have plenty of dinner forks in your kitchen as this is what you will be using the most often out of any of your silverware.
Most dinner forks are made with a nice solid steel design. You can make good use of a set of these types of dinner forks for many years. You might find these forks in a set of other dinner utensils as well.
3. Dessert Forks
There are forks that are meant specifically for eating desserts, and owning some of them can definitely be beneficial. You might want to adhere to the fine dining etiquette principles and use the proper silverware for the right dishes. You also might find that dessert forks are quite convenient for enjoying a good dessert. Either way, you will be able to find beautiful sets of dessert forks at very good prices.
If you want to have the most convenient fork possible for enjoying a tasty treat, then you will want to have some dessert forks in your silverware drawer. They are made very solidly and will stand the test of time for you. You can use these quality pieces of silverware for many years, so you shouldn’t hesitate to purchase a good set of these.
4. Oyster Forks
Admittedly, not everyone is going to need an oyster fork in his or her silverware drawer. If you aren’t the type of person who eats shellfish with any sort of regularity, then you may find that this fork will see little use. Regardless, this can be a very handy utensil to have around if you do like oysters and other shellfish. It is the perfect size to crack open a shell and easily eat these types of meals.
Interestingly, this type of fork is the only kind you should place to the right of your plate in fine dining etiquette. Even if you don’t care about that, it’s easy to tell that this fork type is a bit unusual. Being different doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve its purpose well, though. If you eat shellfish several times a year, it is probably a good idea to have a set of oyster forks that will work well.
5. Table Knife
Knives are really important because you need to be able to cut your food properly. Using the right night for the situation at hand really does make things a lot easier. You will want to have several table knives in your silverware drawer, as these will be the knives you use for every meal.
Having an actual table knife will be very useful. Some people make the mistake of using duller butter knives for everyday eating purposes, and the results are mixed at best. Buying a quality table knife set is highly recommended. You will enjoy how convenient they are for cutting your food and look nice on your dinner table.
6. Butter Knife
Buttering your bread is an important part of a meal. You need the right utensil to get the job done without ruining your piece of bread. Anyone who has tried to spread butter with other types of knives will be able to attest that it doesn’t work so well. You want to own a nice set of butter knives to spread everything evenly without having issues.
A good set of butter knives is going to look very nice and will function well. Most of them are made out of typical stainless steel and they will stand up to many years of regular use. These are knives that you will likely be using daily so it is good to know that they are durable. Take the time to choose a set that will appeal to your sensibilities properly.
7. Steak Knife
You will find that steak knives are some of the most common types of silverware that you will see in department stores. These are very important to have as you need them to cut through tough cuts of meat. Having a good steak knife set will make your dining experience much easier, and these knives will also come in handy for other meal purposes. You should be able to find a set with many different sizes of steak knives if that is what you want.
People often like to give sets of steak knives as gifts as well. Having a good set of knives really matters, so you will want to take the time to pick out the best set to suit your needs. There are many fine steak knives on the market, so you shouldn’t have trouble tracking down a durable and visually pleasing set.
8. Dessert Knife
Some people don’t own dessert knives, but they are nice and are useful to have around. Eating a piece of cake or another type of pastry is much easier when you have a dessert knife around. It is styled perfectly to cut pieces of your dessert without making a mess. They’re also the perfect size for cutting desserts, so using a dessert knife when available makes sense.
Dessert knife sets have a very refined look, generally speaking. They will add a touch of class to your dinner table if you purchase them. These knives will work great for serving desserts, and any guests will be pleased that you are using the right knives for dessert. Some of the more stylish sets of dessert knives may cost a bit more, but you can also find more affordable options.
Almost every household will have some teaspoons sitting in their silverware drawers. These types of spoons are usually used for stirring drinks and eating relatively soft foods. You will want to have some of these spoons around for when you need them, but you may not use them for every meal. Anyone who drinks tea or coffee knows they come in handy quite regularly for stirring drinks and mixing in various creamers.
Teaspoons will come with just about any silverware set variety pack. You can also purchase teaspoons specifically in sets if you would like. Owning a set of teaspoons is imperative, so you will want to make sure that you have access to some.
The tablespoon is something that you will use more commonly for everyday eating purposes. This is the spoon that most people around the globe use for their meals. Average people use it to eat just about anything that would require a spoon, so you will want to have plenty of these in your kitchen. They will be useful for eating everything from breakfast cereal to soup.
Finding nice sets of tablespoons is easy too. You will be able to get a set of these spoons that will look gorgeous on your dinner table. Simply look around for a set with the eye-catching qualities you want. It won’t take long to find a set of spoons that will match up perfectly with your other silverware sets.
11. Dessert Spoon
Dessert spoons are something that you will want to use specifically to eat your desserts. In fine dining, people use dessert spoons to eat custards and other soft desserts. They’re made to help make eating dessert as simple as possible, and many of the dessert spoons you can purchase look really nice, too. If you want a nice set of spoons to impress your dinner guests, then it’s appropriate to make sure you have some dessert spoons .
You will notice how dessert spoons differ from regular spoons as soon as you examine them. They have these little edges that make eating your dessert simpler. You can buy sets of dessert spoons from most major retailers so they won’t be difficult to find.
12. Soup Spoon
As you might expect, some spoons are meant for eating soup specifically. Some people just use their tablespoons to eat their soup, but soup spoons are much better suited for the purpose. You can eat soup in the right amounts with access to a soup spoon. Tablespoons are just too large, and a teaspoon wouldn’t be the right size either.
Luckily, getting a nice set of soup spoons is very simple. You will be able to find soup spoons that will go perfectly with your other types of silverware. Some silverware sets will also come with soup spoons, though you may need to seek them out by themselves.
13. Bouillon Spoon
Bouillon spoons are usually used to eat very light soups at formal dinners. This is typically an appetizer to whet the palates of those in attendance. These spoons are a bit smaller than your average soup spoon, so the masses don’t use them as often. Whether or not you will find it practical to own a set of bouillon spoons really depends on your needs and sensibilities.
A spork is definitely not something that you would see in fine dining, but it is a utensil many people like having around. When you want to have a tool that has the capabilities of a fork while also possessing the convenience of a spoon, then you need to buy a spork. Sporks don’t come in most traditional silverware sets, so you will need to seek them out specifically. You can buy a quality set of sporks from most major retailers, but they may not be seen as commonly as the more traditional types of silverware.
15. Stainless Steel
You most likely have a stainless steel silverware set somewhere in your home. The masses have used this type of silverware for many years. It is quite durable and easy to clean by hand or in your dishwasher. This type of silverware makes things convenient for you by being strong enough to withstand years of regular use.
If you want to purchase silverware that you are going to be able to use for a long time, then getting stainless steel silverware is a very sensible choice. This silverware has the durability to last you for many years, and you will also be happy with how it looks. They don’t sacrifice the visual appeal of the silverware when making it out of stainless steel. You can find plenty of options that are very ornate and will work well in a formal setting.
Sometimes you will find that the basic structure of the silverware will be made out of stainless steel, but the handle might be made out of something ornate. This is nice from a visual standpoint, but you may find that these types of silverware sets won’t stand up quite as well as those made of just stainless steel. Oftentimes, people find that the handles on those variants will crack over the years while the stainless steel remains completely fine.
16. Birchwood Silverware
Many people who are more environmentally conscious have taken to buying birchwood silverware. This silverware is made out of birchwood entirely, and it is completely biodegradable. These types of silverware can be used for compost or recycled as well. It is a convenient option that will allow you to feel as though you’re making a good choice for the environment .
As you might expect, these birchwood silverware sets are mostly meant to be disposed of after you use them. Some people have had success with washing these pieces of silverware by hand to get more than one use out of them. Depending on what you eat, it may not be practical to get the pieces of silverware looking presentable again after they have been used. These are mostly simple options for when you need disposable silverware for a large gathering.
Thankfully, purchasing this Birchwood silverware is relatively inexpensive. If you have a birthday party coming up and you don’t want to have to wash dozens of individual forks and knives, then this is going to be a blessing. Everyone will love the way that this silverware looks, and it is very sturdy and easy to use. These sets will typically come with forks, spoons, and knives.
17. Plastic Silverware
Of course, everyone knows that it is possible to purchase plastic silverware when you need a simple disposable option. People have been buying these plastic silverware sets for decades, and they definitely can make things a lot easier on you. When you don’t want to have to clean up after a large gathering, such as a family reunion, having these plastic silverware sets handy will be perfect. The problems with these sets are primarily about them not being environmentally friendly.
Using plastic silverware presents a bit of a moral conundrum for some people. They like the convenience of not having to wash a bunch of dishes, but they don’t want to feel as though they are contributing to the pollution and garbage problem on the planet. In this situation, purchasing the Birchwood silverware mentioned above may make you feel better about yourself. This will be a better option for anyone who has environmental concerns.
These plastic silverware sets are perfect for those who don’t put much thought into environmental issues. They’re very affordable, and you get a lot of silverware in one box. One of these boxes will have hundreds of pieces of silverware, so you could presumably not have to wash forks, spoons, or knives for quite some time. The convenience of this type of silverware is undeniable; it’s just up to you to decide whether it is appealing to your situation.
You will also find that bamboo is used to make some sets of silverware. It’s possible to find things such as spatulas and tongs that are completely made out of bamboo, of course. You won’t typically find forks, knives, and spoons entirely made out of bamboo too often. Most of the time, the bamboo is used ornately to accentuate the handle.
Bamboo handles look nice on different pieces of silverware. Bamboo is also sturdy, so you won’t have to worry about whether it will stand up to repeated uses. You can even wash these bamboo silverware sets in the dishwasher without concern. The handles are made to stand up to the pressure of the dishwasher.
If you want a silverware set that is going to be able to impress your guests, then buying this bamboo set is going to be a good choice. It looks really nice and is overall really strong. You get the benefits of owning a stainless steel set of silverware combined with the natural beauty of bamboo. It will definitely add a touch of charm to your dinner table if you choose to buy it for your home.
Some sets of silverware are made using titanium. They don’t make the whole piece of silverware out of titanium, though. Stainless steel is used to make the silverware, and then it is plated with titanium to give it even more strength. This also gives the silverware a very distinct look and color.
People really enjoy the look of titanium-plated silverware. If you want something that has the same durability as the stainless steel silverware but looks quite unique, then this is a good option. You will be able to purchase this type of silverware at a very reasonable price, too.
These titanium-plated silverware sets are often sold with copper color. This gives off a very charming vibe and is different from the typical silver color you see in most sets. This is why this set of silverware appeals to so many people. It deviates from norms and provides a different aesthetic, giving it significant visual appeal.