Flatware is simply the utensils you use for eating food. The set usually consists of spoons, forks, teaspoons, knives, and plates. They are referred to as flatware since they are constructed to be flat in shape. Purpose, price, style, and size differ from brand to brand.
The most common purpose for flatware is for everyday dining use, that is, for eating and serving food. The fancier ones usually go out of the cabinet only during special occasions or when special guests arrive. It is both a sign of hospitality to give your guests the best and a nonverbal message that shows your social status. Artsy people collect flatware for display purposes. When traveling, they buy flatware whose design is distinctly from that place. Like any other souvenir item, it also tells a part of the history of that place. As for prices, a cheap single piece of flatware could cost from 5 to 10 dollars, while the high-end flatware would cost about a hundred dollars minimum for each piece. The pricing is based on the materials used, which would also usually dictate its quality and the craftsmanship (including the intricacy of the design, shapes and colors). Also, the sizes and weight would vary based on the materials used.
A good set of flatware never fails to help you appreciate the food more and gives you a more satisfying dining experience. So, here are some tips to help you choose the best flatware:
- Materials. You must take note first of the material used. This factor would have a big impact on the over-all quality of your flatware. For everyday use, the 18/8 and 18/10 chromium-nickel steel are deemed the best among the ones available in the market. The 18/8 or 18/10 refers to the ratio of the chromium to nickel in the alloy mixture. The first number is the amount of chromium and the latter for the nickel. Chromium gives its strength while nickel provides for the rust-proofing and luster of the flatware. This ratio assures durability and good strength.
- Thickness. In addition, the thickness can also determine the flatware’s durability. Spoons and forks should be at least 2.5 millimeters thick. Stainless steel flatware is also suggested if you would opt for a more low-cost set. The material also offers the luster but maybe less of the durability. However, its stain-resistance makes it fit for everyday use. For knives, the 18/0 is best. The zero nickel content provides its ability to cut and slice. Another tip is to make sure that the blades also contain carbon to make it stay sharp for a long period of time. The nickel-content in the flatware should not exceed the usual since over exposure to it might cause health problems. For the fancier choice, sterling silver and gold are the best choices. They offer the same good quality and durability for a higher price tag. Style is also assured with sterling silver or gold flatware.
- Imperfections. The next thing to do is to assure that the flatware is free from holes, dents, rough edges, and scratches. Doing so would assure the safety that your utensils will provide when you use them. If you have purchased a faulty piece or set, do not hesitate to ask for replacements.
- Craftsmanship. For the style and craftsmanship, it is up to you to identify the ones that fit your taste. Flatware available in the market ranges from Asian to contemporary and classic. You could also request for customized made-to-order sets. You could engrave your initials or family name on the handles or some fancy patterns and symbols perhaps.
Arguably, selecting the best flatware is a subjective experience. But, if you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to find ones that are of good quality.