I have to admit, being a man sitting around a fire and eating meat with my bare hands has its appeal. However, seeing as I consider myself slightly more sophisticated than most cro magnon men, I still use flatware when the occasion arises. And since there is a limited amount of shale around to sharpen and use as a knife and my lack of access to a metal forge, I actually have to spend money on my flatware. Here are a few tips to remember when and if you decide to look for your own new flatware.
While there are a myriad of things to consider, style is probably going to be important to you. Having the same boring flatware you see in every cafeteria may be fine for you, but design is about the finishing touches, and flatware is a big one that people notice. Matching your flatware with the design of the kitchen is always a smart move. If you have a “commercial” style kitchen with brushed stainless appliances and cabinet hardware, try to get a brushed stainless set of flatware. There are thousands of styles out there, so searching Overstock or Amazon is a smart move for you. Its always better to feel the set in person, so make sure if you choose to order online, that there is a return policy you are comfortable with.
I’m a person who believes in buying quality the first time. We have all had to use the fork with four tines bent in five direction or bent a spoon in a tub of ice cream. The solution is to get quality metal. Many manufacturers will have a number like 18/10 on the label somewhere. This tells you the percentage of chromium (first number) and nickel (guess) are in the flatware. The remainder of the metal is general iron. While there may be other pollutants, these are generally in such small numbers that they are near impossible to measure.
Generally, you want a higher amount of chromium and nickel in your flatware. Iron, which is the primary component of stainless, has a much greater chance to corrode without these additives. That is why 18/10 is usually the recommended quality to pick up. It may also go under the name “304 stainless”.
NOTE: In order to clear the legal hurdle to be called 18/10, it simply needs more than 8% nickel. This means that many flatware sets called 18/10 may really be 18/8.2 or so.
The second thing it to look at the strength. If you can bend one of the tines of the fork with your thumb, it is likely you will eventually look like Magneto went to town with your spoons and forks. Since you don’t want to pick up a new ever year or two, its better to just spend the money once and get it done with.
Make sure to look at the finish as well. If you don’t know what a burr is, just know you don’t want it on the side of your spoon while enjoying a bowl of soup. This is not usually an issue, but it is still one you do not want to encounter. If the polish is not applied evenly, and it looked like the set you are holding my have slipped passed a quality assurance desk, obviously don’t shell out any cash on it. There are plenty of great sets out there.
As always, make sure to explore ALL your options. Picking up the first set you see could give you serious buyers remorse.