Size Matters: Continental VS American Flatware Sizes

Most of us love having our meals out, but have you ever noticed how different restaurants have different types of flatware? Some, you can clearly see came in a set together with the flatware. Meanwhile, others seem to be individual pieces that complement the overall design and theme of the place. Some are bigger and heavier than others. Does this mean that the bigger and heavier ones are more expensive? Not necessarily. Sometimes it just means that they’re different types of flatware.

So there are 3 types of flatware, all with different sizes, balances, and uses: Continental Flatware, Place-size flatware, and Luncheon-size Flatware.

Photo courtesy: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bJGqSIpAL._SY355_.jpg
Photo courtesy: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bJGqSIpAL._SY355_.jpg

Luncheon

This type of flatware is the shortest in length, and is the hardest one to find today. Its length was made to balance the dimensions of the luncheon plate; however, it’s not commonly used today. You’d most likely find it in older flatware sets, but rarely in restaurants or homes.

 

Continental

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Photo courtesy: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4124HWKEM6L._SY355_.jpg

Also known as European Size, this is the type of flatware that is the longest in terms of length.  The dinner knife, dinner fork, and soup spoon of this type is longer by approximately half an inch, compared to the place flatware; and approximately an inch compared to the luncheon flatware. Apart from their length, these flatware pieces are also slightly thicker and heavier compared to both their luncheon and place counterparts.  In continental or European style, you would typically find the monograms (or stamps) at the back of the handles, because their forks are held with the tines downward.

 

Place

Also known as American Size, this type of flatware is what you would traditionally see in American households. However, even though the continental size of flatware is becoming increasingly popular in the states, the place size is still the cutlery of choice. They’re lighter and easier to manipulate compared to their continental counterpart.  In the American style of flatware, the monograms are placed at the front of  the handle because typical American cuisine is done with the fork tines held upward to eat.

 

Continental VS Place sizes

Here are some of the common pieces with their size differences between Continental and Place.

Flatware Piece

Continental Size

Place Size

Knife 10 1/2″ 9″
Fork 8 1/2″ 7 1/2″
Salad Fork 6 1/2″ 6 1/2″
Soup Spoon 7 5/8″ 7″
Teaspoon 6 1/4″ 6 1/4″

As to which style of flatware is better is all a matter of preference and what you grew up with. Some people like the heavy feel of the continental style, because (to them) it screams quality. Others, however, prefer the lighter and more relaxed size and feel of the American or place style due to their convenience.

What style flatware do you have at home? Do they match your dinnerware at home? Planning on purchasing new ones anytime soon? What type? Sound off in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

Check out our Ebay Store, we have a lot of dinnerware, flatware, silverware, stainless flatware offered. Visit www.TheEscapePlace.com

Gorham Chantilly:The timeless, unique, & brief history of a flatware

The aroma of the food prepared for the whole family touches your nose –the scent slowly entices your already rumbling tummy. You see the table being set for the lavish feast that everyone will be enjoying in just a  few more minutes. The plates and glasses are equally as beautiful as the flatwares in your sight. Stepping closer, the lustrous property of the flatware becomes more appealing. Touching it matches the smoothness of your palm and fingers. The design is very intricate as your thumb runs down and checks it. Genuinely, that is a work of art.

If you are not familiar with the names and distinctions of every flatware but you remembered being amazed with a certain collection, chances are that set has the Gorham Chantilly pattern. This is the most popular flatware ever manufactured of all time. It is known worldwide with the elegant design, hence, this is a favorite to be collected. Silver crafted in the most elaborate pattern will definitely suit even the meticulous scrutiny.

 

From Humble Beginnings

This craft has a rich history. Everything began in 1831, inside the humble workshop of Jabez Gorham, a skillful craftsman from Providence, Rhode Island. Together with Henry Webster, they started creating thimbles, teaspoons, combs, jewelries, and some other small products which are all made of silver. However, their main product is the silver spoon. In 1847, great innovations happened as soon as John Gorham, son of Jabez Gorham, became the head of the company right after his father retired. John took opportunity of what the Industrial Revolution offered. He incorporated the mechanized mass production method. For further improvements, he enhanced the available designs, and refurnished the premises to create more space and widen their offered product line.

 

Unstoppable Progress

The progress he desired for the company did not stop there. In 1852, he visited several silver workshops and manufacturing companies in Europe. There, he searched for craftsmen, toolmakers and other experts in the field of silverware. He even hired a leading designer and workshop manager from England by the name of George Wilkonson. In 1895, the brainchild of the designer William Christmas Codman came to life. Codman’s creativity gave birth to the Chantilly pattern. From then on, it has been the best-selling flatware pattern of the company.

 

The Chantilly Pattern 

The lovely border, unadorned center, and fleur-de-lis tip of the Gorham Chantilly were derived from the inspiration brought by the Roccoco style from the 18th century French Regency Era. It was named after the well-known Chantilly palace in France. Along with this inspiration, the Gorham Chantilly   has the symmetrical fan plume design and polished finish. Because of its popularity, even prominent personalities choose this as their flatware. One of whom is the President of the United States. Whenever he boards the Air Force One, this is the choice flatware in the US Presidential Jet. This is also a well-loved flatware by newlyweds.

Since it’s a well-known brand, Gorham Chantilly’s replacement pieces are easy to find. In case one of your utensils bearing this pattern was accidentally marked with a scratch, you don’t have to worry that your collection will become incomplete.

If you want to pair your sumptous dishes with royalty-like flatwares, Gorham Chantilly will be a match made in heaven for your taste. What a lovely collection will this be for your table setting! You will also do an acquisition of a long-term asset in your kitchen. Timeless, elegance, and beauty—all rolled in one in every flatware with the Gorham Chantilly pattern.

Gorham-Sald-Fork Gorham-Teaspoon

You may also visit, www.TheEscapePlace.com for more Gorham Stainless Flatware.

Knife Construction – Stamp, Drop Forge, and Hollow Handle

If you’ve ever bought kitchen knives in a shop, you’ve probably encountered a few brands that boast that their blades are dropped forged or stamped. Some even say that the handles are hollow in construction. Whether or not you’re shopping on a budget, it’s important to be knowledgeable of exactly what these terms mean in order to get more value for your money.  And in order to do that, you need to learn a little more about the different types of knife construction:

Drop Forged

In a post from engineerstudent.co.uk, drop forging is a process wherein “the metal to be formed is first heated then shaped by forcing it into the contours of a die.” If you’re a fan of old samurai flicks, you’ve probably seen a lot of scenes wherein a blacksmith pounds on a piece of blazing iron using a hammer.  That process is called hot-drop-forging. As the name implies, this method uses extreme heat to shape the metals. Knives that are forged using the hot-drop process have impressive strength because their grain structure is realigned and stretched. Moreover, these cutleries are more durable compared to the ones that are casted or processed on a machine.

Another forging process that is commonly used in creating cutlery sets is cold drop forging. In this method, metal is deformed while it is below its recrystallization temperature. Cold forging works best on soft metals such as aluminum or copper. Most manufacturers prefer to use this method because it’s more cost-efficient that hot-drop forging, and there’s less risk of contamination.

The main benefit of a forged knife is that they’re easier to sharpen. Thanks to its rigid frame, the blade doesn’t twist when you’re holding it firmly against a whetstone. Unfortunately, its non-flexible quality can also be considered as a disadvantage.  If you want to fillet anchovies, it’s better if you use a stamped knife instead.

Stamping

According to metrokitchen.com, stamped knives are “made from large, continuous sheets of stainless steel.”  A large machine stamps out the shape of the blade, just like how a cookie cutter molds the dough into different shapes. Afterwards, the handle is then attached, and the blade gets sharpened and polished.

For consumers, one of the biggest advantages of a stamped knife construction is that they are cheaper than the forged ones. If you want to complete your kitchen knife set without going beyond your intended budget, you should definitely buy these machine-made blades.  In addition, you can use them for filleting and deboning chicken or fish meat.

However, stamped cutlery does not undergo any forging process, which means that they’re not extremely durable. In addition, flexible blades also dull quickly and are harder to sharpen. You also have to be more careful when handling a stamped knife because they usually don’t have any bolster. If you’re careless, you might cut yourself while cooking.

Hollow Handle

When it comes to knife handles, there are two types of hollow handles that you can see on the market. On one hand, forged blades usually have their tangs mounted to the handle using cement. On the other hand, stamped knives are welded to the hilt.

Blades with hollow handles are superior compered to their solid counterparts. With a hollow handled knife, you won’t feel too much strain when chopping your ingredients because its weight is evenly distributed. It’s also lighter, and has an impressive pattern definition.

Can you recommend some reliable knife manufacturers? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Escape Place has different kinds of Knife Collection:

Oneida-Kennett-Square-Dinner-knife        Oneida-Shoreline-Dinner-Knife

Oneida-Steak-Knives

Visit www.TheEscapePlace.com 

Packing & Shipping Flatware in the Most Careful & Precautious Manner

There comes a point in our lives when we move away from our childhood homes to start anew, or even to settle down with a partner. As if the actual act of moving your belongings isn’t enough of a hassle; you still have to ensure that your precious cargo doesn’t get damaged in the process.

(Photo taken from www.hip2save.com)
(Photo taken from www.hip2save.com)

Your flatware set is one of those things that should be given extra care when shipping via courier service. It is much better to be extra careful than to lose or damage even a single piece. Some flatware collections are difficult to find a replacement piece and it will cost you more money. Moreover, if your flatware collection happens to be a gift from someone important, never will you want to lose it along with the sentimental value it possesses.
For these reasons, you want to make sure that your silvers are lovingly packed before being shipped off to another home. To help you do this, here are a few tips you can do before you pack and ship your flatware:

Wash, clean, and air dry the flatware
It is important to clean the silverware thoroughly. There might still be some stains left from the last time you used it. Build up of bacteria caused by storing for a long time will also be washed away. Don’t forget to towel dry and air dry them after washing. Moisture that can form, if not air dried, will tarnish them.

Polish until it get the lustrous appearance
Polishing helps you to utilize the flatware for a longer period of time. It will bring your flats back to mint condition and prevent any tarnishing that may occur as they are being delivered.

Organize the flatware to the types
Spoons go together and the same goes for the forks and knives. Knives, most especially, should be handled with extra care. You wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt. It’s easier to unpack too if everything is grouped accordingly.

Use cloth, bubble wrap or plastic bag
Encase them in a cloth, plastic bag, or bubble wrap. In this way, the flatware will stay in place. This also serves as a protection against scratching and tarnishing.

Select a sturdy package
Ideally, a carton box or chest with a sturdy base would be the best to use. Check the total weight of all the flatware. Your container should be able to withstand its total mass.

Arrange the flatware properly inside the package
The longest and heaviest utensils should be placed at the bottom of the package. Maximize the space so you won’t need to use another package.

Seal the container
Make sure the package is properly sealed. Imagine the mess if the package suddenly bursts open and all your flatware got scattered. More importantly, a sealed package is less susceptible to theft.

Carry with precaution
Avoid dropping the container. Place it somewhere kids can’t reach. Handle it gently. Remember its weight and be cautious wherever you will bring it.

If sending via a courier service, trust a recommended company
Choose a courier service that can guarantee you of carefully handling the package and delivering it within the timeframe promised. This will free you from the hassle of transporting the flatware yourself.
With these simple tips, your cherished flatware will be safely shipped to its destination with the same gorgeous look as before it was packed.

Visit our Ebay Store, www.TheEscapePlace.com for our different stainless steel silverware flatware. The Escape Place offers different kinds of silverware from different brands, Oneida, Towle, Reed and Barton, and may more. We can ensure you that the packing of each item is secured for shipping.

Spots on Stainless Steel Flatware

In 1913, Harry Brearly, an English metallurgist, accidentally concocted a metal mixture which has revolutionized our everyday life. He was working on a project to improve rifle barrels but discovered that adding chromium to low carbon steel gives it stain resistance, thus giving birth to “stainless steel”. Chromium in the steel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide called passive film. If the passive film is scratched or disrupted, oxide will form and recover the surface, preventing corrosion.

Stainless steel is used in almost anything from bridges, monuments and sculptures (some examples include the Unisphere in New York and the Cloud Gate at Chicago), automotive bodies, passenger rail cars, aircraft, jewelry, etc. Most of all, stainless steel has been introduced to homes across the world due to the invention of stainless steel flatware.

Despite the moniker of being “stainless”, our flatware isn’t actually stain-proof. Passive film requires oxygen to repair, so those that have been kept in low-oxygen areas or exposed to certain chemicals can have “spots”. Knowing some tips and tricks on stainless steel flatware maintenance will help restore your cutlery’s immaculate glory.

 

Care During First Time Use

  • When using stainless steel flatware for the first time, hand wash it thoroughly in hot water using mild soap or detergent. It’s important to use hot or warm water because  it will remove all soap residues which cause cutlery to dull. After rinsing, dry the silverware using a towel as air-drying them would often lead to spots.

 

Care During Everyday Use

  • Caring for your silverware during everyday use entails avoiding use for food that have high acid content such as tea, coffee, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and citrus fruits.
  • It’s also advisable to rinse cutlery immediately after use as stuck food particles can cause corrosion.
  • When using a dishwasher, remember to load fork and spoons with their handles down, and avoid mixing stainless steel flatware with tableware made out of a different metal type in the same compartment or load.
  • Never ever soak flatware overnight! Oxygen levels in water are low which lead to the breakdown of oxides that create protective corrosion layers.
  • Do not pour detergent or soap directly on your flatware. It’s best to discharge it unto a sponge and use that to scrub their surfaces.
  • Do not allow your cutlery to overheat. For example, leaving it on a hot burner or using it to stir boiling food.
  • Avoid using steel wool to scrub stains from your stainless steel cutlery; because it can damage the surface and finish of the flatware.
  • Cleaners containing lemon or orange additives can also cause corrosion.
  • Do not use alcohol or oven cleaners to scrub difficult stains.

 

How do I remove stains or spots in my cutlery?

If prevention isn’t enough and you still find stubborn stains on your flatware, there are several hacks which you can keep in mind in order to restore their spotless glow.

 

1)     Go the olive oil and washcloth route. To begin, clean the surface with non-abrasive soap, or baking soda and water. Then, apply olive oil to a washcloth and use this to wipe surface stains. Wipe excess oil with a clean, dry rag or a paper towel. This will also give it a little shine.

2)     Use undiluted white vinegar. Some people swear by this method even though white vinegar has a funky smell. This is especially effective if your flatware stains are caused by heat.

3)     The aluminum foil method. With this method, you’ll need a large skillet, aluminum foil, and water. First, place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the base of a large skillet. Fill the ¾ with hot water and add a teaspoon of salt and baking soda. Slide the cutlery in and let the water boil for 5 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and allow the water to cool before removing the stainless steel cutlery. Rinse each piece with warm tap water and towel dry with a clean cloth. Voila! Clean cutlery!

4)     Use a rust-fighting product with oxalic acid. But only use this as a last resort! This solution should only be attempted under dire circumstances because oxalic acid is a strong chemical solution.

 

Check out The Escape Place ebay store for great collection of stainless steel silver.

These are our Oneida Collection Stainless Steel Silverware. You may click on each picture to check out the item.

Oneida Arbor Rose Spoons       Oneida Dinner KnifeOneida Cherbourg Dinner Knives       Oneida Cherbourg Pattern Salad Forks

Cleaning Silverware: Dishwasher versus Hand-wash

Our silverwares are used for the most common tasks like a simple dinner with the family, or even to a rarer occasion like accentuating the theme of a formal dinner party. But once all the fun, laughter, and eating is done; how do you plan on cleaning your dishes and silverwares? Do you plan on just stacking and cramming them all in a dishwasher for that quick and convenient way of cleaning? Maybe you’d like to take the more traditional route of washing by hand to have that quiet moment alone for your own thoughts. Before we go and decide which is better let’s first find out what each system of cleaning holds for us and the items they clean.

cleaning-silverware

Washing By Hand

Most of us know and understand how fragile the design of silverwares can be and, with that in mind, one understands that they shouldn’t be mixed with other things to avoid ruining them. This caution, however, can be skipped when washing by hand because you have control and have the ability to discern which can harm which. This discerning action allows you wash your dishes along with your silverware at the same time without the worry of ruining the smooth glossy finish of your silver spoons, forks, and knives. What does this mean for you? Well this means efficiency. By using the water you used to clean your silverware for your other dishes, you lessen the act of wasting water (Of course when doing this you shouldn’t leave the tap on). According to Umbra of grist.org, you can even use the method of David Galloway of lifehacker.com wherein he gathers the water he used for cleaning and uses it for other things like watering the plants or as scrub water.

 

Washing the Dishes through a Dishwasher

Okay, given the point above some may argue that washing by hand is simply too time consuming. Aside from lessening time consumption, dishwasher enthusiasts can also argue using the results of the study done by Bonn University. According to the website dishwashingexpert.com modern dishwashers are much more efficient than washing by hand. Its efficiency includes a lot more than just precious time. The research shows that modern washers use 13 to 27 liters of water which is roughly 1/6 of that use when washing hands. If your concern is your electric bill worry no more because some of these washers are Energy Star certified. This means that they are much more efficient in using electricity than conventional dishwashers.

 

Contested Conclusion 

With the discussion on the dishwasher done, it would seem that washing your silverware through the use of a dishwasher is the most ideal means of cleaning. However, according to sites like treehugger.com, grist.org, and lifehacker.com the result found by Bonn University (BU) can be contested. First, one cannot simply apply the result found by BU to all dishwashers. There is a specific type of dishwasher that the results apply to, and this means that people can’t just boast and question hand-wash enthusiasts with a condescending tone. Second, because of the fragile nature of silverware, you can’t just put them together with other utensils and so you have to wash these things separately if you’re planning to maintain the pristine look of your silverware. Separating the act of washing consumes more water and soap which doesn’t translate well economically. Finally, the study conducted, according to Umbra of grist.org, didn’t turn the faucet off when cleaning the dishes and so precious water was wasted. They also didn’t acknowledge the alternative uses of the water used for cleaning.

With these, if you would like to call them revelations, show is that the most logical reason why people would opt to use dishwashers as cleaners over hand washing is that dishwashers are simply less time consuming when you are just washing your silverware. It also doesn’t add physical strain by reducing your task to simply loading, unloading, and drying. If you’d prefer some alone time with your thoughts, prefer a sponge on your hand, and you don’t have figuratively deep pockets; then hand washing wouldn’t be a problem to you and even the environment.

 

Here are some great Oneida Brahms Spoons

Pierced_Serving_Spoon_Oneida_Brahms

Shell_Casserole_Spoon_Oneida

For more stainless silverware flatware, visit www.TheEscapePlace.com

Did I miss anything? What’s your take on the dishwashing versus hand-washing debate? Tell us what you think! We’ love to hear from you!

What the Heck is a “Spork”?

If you’ve ever been camping (especially with dads or dad-types) or if you’ve ever bought instant noodles from (especially) Southeast Asia, you’re probably familiar with the incredibly infuriating utensil that has too shallow a dip to hold any decent amount of soup for consumption, with prongs on the edge that are either too dull or too short to properly stab through anything other than the soft flesh of fruits. Come to think of it, if your fruit is a bit slippery in texture, you might not even be able to successfully penetrate through that either. Yes, we’re talking about the ever mocked (by the culinary society snobs) utensil: the spork.

spork

 

What the heck is it?

A spork (and for the love of…. Just please don’t call it a “foon”) is a mutant cross between a spoon and fork. It has a shallow scoop or dip with three or four prongs at the tip. This term was coined sometime in 1909, in the Century Dictionary two-volume Supplement. However, the utensil itself wasn’t trademarked until 1969 by Van Brode Milling Co. in Clinton, Massachusetts, when they registered a piece of cutlery which has the features of a spoon, fork, and (at times) a knife. Although the cutlery itself was only registered then, the term “spork” was actually trademarked around 1951 by Hyde W. Ballard (Westtown, Pennsylvania) in the United States, as a singular stainless steel flatware combining a spoon and a fork; then by Van Brode Milling Company as a plastic utensil combination of a spoon, fork, and knife in 1970; and then in 1975 by Plastico Limited (leading British manufacturer of plastic tableware) in the United Kingdom.

Spork: A History

Although trademarks to this hybrid cutlery piece came in the 20th century, patents for prototypes or similar utensils were actually issued in the 19th century.  A combined spoon, fork, and knife flatware was invented and patented in February 1847 (US patent 147,119) by Samuel w. Francis. Other early spork prototype patents were the “cutting spoon” by Harry L. McCoy 1908 (US Patent 1,044,869), spoon with tined edge by Frank Emmenegger in November 1912. These patents predate the actual usage of the term “spork”. However, the basic concept of combining the two flat silvers into a singular piece is prominent and thematic in the earlier patents. As stated earlier, it was only in the 1950’s when the term was actually trademarked.

The Spork Today

This hybrid flatware can still be found today. They’ve retained their original function, as a two-in-one tool for meals; however, certain liberties have been taken in their modern production.

spork-2

Although the traditional silver and plastic versions of them are still available (like in certain tableware sets for silver, and in instant noodles packs for plastic), technological advancement has led people to create them using various materials like titanium and stainless steel –which are extremely popular with campers.

Some have even taken them from cheap, disposable plastic utensils to fun and trippy mealtime tools for kids and the kids at heart.

Admittedly, these Frankenstein-ish flatware have evolved for the better through the years. Some which are better in quality can actually pierce through meat, and hold an acceptable amount of soup per dip. Add that to the fact that a lot of them now actually look pretty nice.

 

So what say you all? Yay or nay for sporks? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Stainless Flatware: The Importance of 18/10 VS 18/0

When you’re in the market for stainless steel flatware, you might come across terms such as “18/10 Stainless Steel”, “18/0 Stainless Steel” or in some cases, “18/8 Stainless Steel”.  But what do they all really mean? Is it the quality of the steel? The way it was made? Or maybe, some fancy gimmick to justify one set being more expensive than the other, even though it doesn’t look any better than the cheaper one? Let’s find out.

Flatware Stainless Steel

Stainless steel used on flatware will have different compositions depending on their applications.  But the main ingredients are Chromium and Nickel which add to its corrosion resistance.  Chromium is a hard substance, and is essentially used as a hardener.  Nickel is a silvery metal that doesn’t easily corrode and thus is used to enhance corrosion resistance.  Technically, a higher content of each will be more resilient to pitting and rusting, making them easy to maintain.  Too much Chromium content, however, will result in brittleness which will be unpractical for everyday use.

The Numbers and What They Are

18/10 or 18/0 is simply a numerical representation of how much chromium and nickel the stainless steel has in a particular set.

  • 18/10 – 18% Chromium and 10% Nickel
  • 18/0 – 18% Chromium and 0% Nickel

In general, since most flatware will have the same 18% Chromium; the higher the Nickel content, the more resistant it is to corrosion.  However, it is important to note that Nickel is quite expensive which means that sets with high nickel content will cost more as well.

Understanding what they mean

Aside from corrosion resistance, 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel can differ in appearance and of course, as mentioned earlier, price.  18/10 stainless steel will have more luster than its little brother, the 18/0.  It will also be more durable and will likely be more capable to withstand daily use.  On the other hand, because it has more Nickel content (which is expensive), these sets will generally cost more than those made with 18/0 stainless steel.  18/10 stainless steel flatware will be heavier, more balanced, and have a better “feel” than their 18/0 counterparts.

Although 18/10 is the hands down winner, 18/0 stainless steel isn’t as bad as one might think.  They’re relatively strong and inexpensive.  They may not be as corrosion resistant or as durable as their big brother, the 18/10; but, with a little extra care and common sense, they will last a long time serving their purpose.

There you have it.  These are basically what you need to know about 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel flatware.  The next time you check out flatware sets, you should know what to look for.  If you really want quality craftsmanship that is durable, that has a good feel and overall appearance, but without minding the extra expense; go for 18/10 Stainless Steel.  However, if your definition of what practical is includes price, don’t be afraid to look at 18/0 stainless steel sets.  Just remember to trust your instincts.  Read the label.  Ask somebody to open them up and try to have a feel of it in your hand.  You will come across items that claim they are what they are not.  Keep in mind that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Check out our Oneida Stainless Steel Flatware.

Do’s And Don’ts On The Proper Storage Of Sterling Silver Plate & Flatware

Sterling Silver is the whitest of all of the precious metals in the world. Proper storage of sterling silver is a must, especially if you want to keep that lustrous finish and timeless elegance in your plates and flatware. Nobody wants their favorite silver plate and flatware to tarnish unless you’re aiming for that antique look, right? Caring for your sterling silver plates and flatware doesn’t stop at proper cleaning; proper storage also helps in keeping them in their tip-top shape.

oneida_summer_mist

Oneida Summer Mist Dinner Forks

 

Understand the Cause of Tarnish


Knowing the reason how and why silver tarnishes can help you understand how to properly store your silver plates and flatware.
So what is the exact cause of tarnishing? According to Etiquette Scholar, “Tarnish is created by warm air, dust, and sunlight. Heated air contains a small amount of carbon and sulfide (a mixture similar to smog), which react chemically with the surface of silver and cause tarnish to develop.” From this definition alone, you will understand how to properly store your favorite sterling silver plate and flatware; which directs us to the following DO’s and DON’TS:

krusius_gazelle_dinner_knife

 

Krusius Gazelle Pattern Stainless Steel Dinner Knife

 

DO Store Silver in a Cool Area


High humidity and direct exposure to sunlight hasten tarnishing. Make sure to store your sterling silver plate and flatware in an area that’s not too humid and does not fluctuate in temperature. Ideally, sterling silver plates and flatware are stored in an area with a temperature of 18°C (65°F). During winter, when the heaters at home are open, windows are closed, and fireplaces are lit up, your sterling silver plates and flatware are more prone to tarnish so make sure to keep and store them in an area away from any possible source of heat. Storing silver in a China cabinet or flatware chest is a good choice. Aside from keeping your things tarnish-free, these storage options are perfect for displaying your sterling silver.

DO Store Silver in Flannel Treated Bags


Flannel-treated bags or chests lined with flannel-treated cloths are especially made to protect silver from elements that cause tarnish. Flannel treated bags do not contain acid, sulfur, or salts – all of which contribute to tarnishing. If you opt for this choice, which is less expensive and less space consuming, make sure that your flatware doesn’t bump against each other, or else they’ll end up with scratches. Always keep the flannel bags dry and never wash them as water diminishes their tarnish retarding properties.

DON’T Store Silver in Wool, Newspaper, Rubber Band, Chamois Leather, or Felt


NEVER store your sterling silver plates and flatware on any of these materials. These can cause tarnishing and can even remove plating. Repairing damaged plating is expensive, so it’s always better to prevent this from happening. Newspapers have acidic ink and wrapping them around your flatware or silver plates can damage and promote corrosion. Plastic bags, on the other hand, carry moisture; and water, as mentioned earlier, hastens tarnishing. Rubber bands cause external damage to the surface and they also contain sulfur which accelerates tarnishing as well.

DON’T Use Wax or Lacquer on Silver


Most people want to keep their silver plates and flatware nice and shiny and they do this through the use of wax or lacquer. Lacquer is known to seal the surface and wax prevents air and water from reacting with silver, both mechanisms prevent tarnish. However, as we all know these things aren’t edible and unless you have no problem in cleaning and removing the wax and lacquer prior to every use then you should stay away from these items.

How do you store your sterling silver plates and flatware? Share with us in the comments!

 

The Fork Etiquette: American vs. European Style

The fork is one of the most widely used utensils in most parts of the world, and its use is relatively new in comparison to the spoon and knife. Knowing how to properly manipulate utensils at the table is considered an integral part of table etiquette. According to Emily Post, “It means treating people with consideration, respect, and honesty.” In other words, how you handle utensils and how you eat food at the table reflect the amount of respect and consideration we have for those around us. Etiquette, just like language, religion, and culture, may vary from one place to another; so what are the differences between the American and Continental Styles of Fork Etiquette?

americanVSeuropean

americanVSeuropean

The Zig-Zag Method

What is the Zig-Zag Method? Also known as the Cut-and-Switch, the Zig-Zag Method is a style most commonly used by Americans and Canadians. According to some people, this method was brought to the US by the Europeans; but for various reasons, the Europeans chose to switch to a different style. So why is the Zig-Zag Method called as such? Imagine ordering a medium rare steak at a fancy restaurant, you hold the knife with your right hand and the fork with your left. You cut through the meat with the knife while holding it in place with the fork, and when you’re done, the knife is placed at the top of the plate with the blade facing in. After that, the fork is switched from the left to the right hand to pick up that juicy piece of meat and chew with the tines up. The process of switching the fork to the right hand is why the Zig-Zag Method was called as such.

The Zig-Zag Method might have become popular for several reasons. One of these reasons might be the controversy surrounding the use of the left hand. In the past, the use of the left hand was flocked with strange prejudices and was considered (and is still considered in some parts of the world) as a taboo; and so, switching the fork from the left to the right saves you from being judged and criticized.

For some people though, the Zig-Zag Method seemed like a tedious and inefficient way of eating; and this may be the reason why Europeans opted for an easier, more convenient (and more fashionable for some) way of eating – the Continental Style.

 

The Continental Style

restingstyle

By now we know that the Cut-and-Switch Method originated from the Europeans, and that they searched for a more efficient way of eating while keeping it fashionable and following proper etiquette. What led to this change in the fork etiquette among Europeans? In 1854, a French etiquette book mentioned that people should stop shifting forks back into the right hand in order to be more fashionable. Another reason for this change might have been during the 14th Century when stabbing became so rampant at the dining table because men used to hide daggers up their sleeves and stab each other after eating that the King ordered everyone to eat with both wrists above the table.

So how different is the Continental Style with the Zig-Zag Method? One notable difference is that the Europeans do not switch their forks after they’re done slicing the food – the fork stays in the left hand and the knife continues to be held in the right with the wrist resting on the edge of the table. Another difference is that they bring the food to their mouth with the tines down.

 

American Style vs. European Style

Aside from the switching and positioning of tines, what are other notable differences in fork etiquette between Americans and Europeans? The American Style of pausing during a meal, or the “resting position,” is done by placing the knife on the right side of the plate in the 4 o’clock position with the blade in, and the fork on the left in the 8 o’clock position with the tines up.

american-style

The European Style of the “resting position” is done by placing the fork and knife crossed in the center of the plate with the tines down. When you’re done eating, the American Style is putting the fork and knife side by side in the 4 o’clock position. The knife is placed on the outside with the blade in and the fork on the inside with the tines up. The European Style is pretty much the same except for one exception – the tines of the fork are pointed down.

While all the things mentioned are merely guides and simple comparisons, one should always take note that etiquette is highly personal – it varies from one person to another. Conventions are changing and we don’t know which is offensive for some and which ones are not; and though fork etiquette may not be applicable in fast food chains and other stores, let us not forget the value of respecting others just as how we want to be respected.

Which style do you prefer and use? Or maybe you have your own method? Share with us in the comments!

Here are some of our FORK Collections at http://stores.ebay.com/The-Escape-Place

oneida-milady-cocktail-fork

Oneida Milady Pattern Cocktail Fork Silverplate 1940 Community Seafood

oneida-summer-mist-autumn-glow-salad-forks

Oneida Summer Mist Autumn Glow 4 Salad Forks Wm A Rogers Stainless Silverware

 

yamazaki-salad-forks

Set of 2 Yamazaki Salad Forks Cache Gold Pattern Stainless Steel Glossy Accent