Silverware is something you use every day, if not several times a day, so durable, high-quality flatware sets are worth investing in. Since your flatware should be around for years to come, it’s important to invest in a timeless style that you know you will enjoy for a long time, and will coordinate well with your existing dinnerware and serving utensils. Don’t forget to consider the following tips before making your flatware purchase:
What marks a quality constructed flatware set?
Along with an appealing design and color, you’ll want your forks, spoons and knives to be constructed in a way that makes them durable. Silverware sets may be constructed in one of the following ways:
• Hollow-handled: These pieces are the lightest and arguably the easiest to eat with if you prefer to not feel weighed down by your flatware.
• Stamped: Stamped silverware is made from a solid piece of metal that is stamped to form the utensil. They tend to be sturdy yet heavier.
• Forged: Also made from a single piece of metal, forged flatware sets are also durable and tend to weigh more than their hollow-handled counterparts.
What material should I choose for my silverware or serving utensils?
Though its name may be misleading, silverware is available in a wide variety of materials, not just silver.
• Sterling silver: This is traditionally used for more formal table settings, but rules are made to be broken, right? Sterling silver is especially resilient and resistant to scratching, plus it can last decades with the proper care. Look for quality pieces with at least 90% silver.
• Silver-plated: A more affordable alternative to sterling silver, silver-plated utensils are made of an alternative metal that is then plated in silver. The thicker the plating, the more expensive the set will be.
• Stainless steel: Your most common option, stainless steel can be used daily and requires minimal care. It features a combination of different metal alloys. You may notice a ratio when looking for a stainless steel flatware set, which indicates the percentage of chrome to nickel. A rating of 18/10 is considered the highest quality as it has the perfect combination of strength from the chrome and luster from the nickel.
• Care and cleaning: All three materials are generally dishwasher safe, though it’s wise to verify that by checking the care instructions that come with your new silverware. To prevent rusting or if your set comes with wood handles, don’t leave them in the sink. Utensils with wood handles should be hand washed, as well. It’s recommended that sterling silver be hand dried to prevent streaking, and these pieces may need additional polishing in order to maintain their original glow and luster. Genuine silver flatware is best stored in a case with an anti-tarnish liner.
What are some essential flatware and serving set pieces?
In your standard five-piece place setting, a dinner fork, salad fork, dinner knife, dinner spoon and teaspoon are typically included. Some key serving utensils include a serving spoon, serving fork, carving and cheese knives plus wedge-shaped pastry servers. Whether you’d like to add more exotic pieces like a demitasse spoon or a cake knife to your collection is up to you.
If you enjoy Asian foods on a regular basis, you may also consider purchasing a set of chopsticks. Be aware that Japanese and Chinese chopsticks differ in shape and size. Chinese styles are usually square-shaped and blunt at the end, not to mention longer than their Japanese counterparts. Japanese chopsticks tend to be rounded and taper into a point at the ends.
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