Whether you’re buying what you need for your first home, choosing a gift set for a wedding or housewarming, or replacing your formal silverware set to opt for a simpler lifestyle, a good set of stainless steel flatware is one of the most practical purchases you can make, combining functionality and beauty to make every meal a little more special. All you have to do is make a few simple decisions when choosing a stainless steel flatware set. Take a look at these tips to help you make the right choice.
Choose the level of shine
Although many people call it silverware, stainless steel flatware does not contain actual silver. Stainless steel is a combination of steel, chromium and nickel mixed in different proportions to create a specific look of the metal. The more nickel your stainless steel flatware contains, the brighter it is. Take a look at the numbers used to label the flatware: when choosing between 18/10, 18/8 and 18/0 flatware, the first number refers to the percentage amount of chromium and the second to the amount of nickel. If you want shiny flatware, go with 18/10, which is 10% nickel. If you prefer a more muted, matte look, check out the 18/0 flatware models. The metal composition of stainless steel is purely a matter of personal preference, as all three types will last a lifetime with minimal care.
Determining the number of place settings
A general rule of thumb for deciding how many pieces of stainless steel silverware you need is one set for each piece of dinnerware. If you’re in the process of choosing dinnerware and flatware, it’s often best to aim for a total of 12 place settings. Also, many people like to buy a few extra forks or spoons to serve dessert or coffee at the end of a dinner party when you’ve already taken all your flatware to the dishwasher. It’s usually best to buy more than you think you’ll need, as flatware manufacturers often discontinue designs and you may find that filling or expanding your set can become difficult if you wait.
Add serving pieces
Think about the types of food you like to serve and choose the stainless steel serving pieces you’ll likely need the most. Most people choose a soup ladle, a pie plate, large serving spoons and slotted spoons and large serving forks. You may also want to get salad servers, cheese knives, a sauce ladle and a cake knife.
Choose a design you like
To choose a stainless steel flatware design that fits your lifestyle, think about how you like to entertain. If you like to showcase fine china on heirloom table linens, you’re likely to gravitate toward more traditional and formal flatware styles. If your dining and entertaining style tends more toward grabbing a bite to eat in your kitchen or joining friends and family to watch your favorite TV shows, a more contemporary style may be appropriate.
Think about the weight of your flatware
Some people like the feeling of picking up a heavy knife or fork that feels substantial in the hand. If this describes you, look for hand-forged flatware. If you like to keep things casual and light, take a look at cutlery that is stamped or made from a continuous sheet of metal. These pieces are still sturdy but don’t feel too heavy in your hand.
How to care for your stainless steel flatware
Stainless steel flatware is known to be easy to care for: just rinse it after eating, then wash it. The first few times you wash new stainless steel, do it by hand. After that, you can put it in the dishwasher. Store it in a convenient tray or caddy that allows you to separate knives, forks and spoons for easy access.