Semi-formal flatware

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terran
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Semi-formal flatware

Post by terran » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:36 pm

The formal dinnerware thread inspired my curiosity about upgrading our flatware. We're still using the combined hand-me-downs my wife and I were each sent off to our first apartments with. We do like to host fairly large semi-formal gatherings, but nothing like what the formal dinnerware OP describes -- our attendees are still impressed that we use a tablecloth and skip the paper plates.

I don't really see us upgrading the formality more than our everyday Corelle dinnerware (and if we do we'll cross that bridge when we come to it), so that's the level of flatware we'd be looking for, but I would like have enough that we don't have to decide who gets a spoon, and if it matched that would be nice too.

From the formal dinnerware thread I gather we'll probably want to be looking at stainless steel rather than any kind of real silverware. I'd like it to be able to go in the dishwasher, or is this a bad idea in general? Any recommendations on brands to consider and what stores to look at? Online or brick and mortar is fine, but we will want to be able to see them in person even if we don't buy from that store in the end.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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TNL
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by TNL » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:43 pm

I have a set of Oneida 18/10 stainless that I bought in college in 1993 -- 22 years ago. I still use it every day. 18/10 has a higher nickel content than other grades and has the most durability. It is also the most expensive.

I'd check Costco. A quick search of their website turns up the following brands and styles:

http://www.costco.com/flatware.html

terran
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by terran » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:49 pm

I wonder how their quality is these days? I believe We almost registered for some Oneida flatware for our wedding, but the reviews seemed to indicate it rusted in the dishwasher, so we gave up... and here we are now :happy

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whatusername?
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by whatusername? » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:54 pm

I got a nice set of Gorham stainless - the "Column II" pattern - last year on Amazon in one of their flash sales for $130/service for 12+serving pieces. It's nice and heavy and feels fancy. Reed & Barton also makes nice sets (I ordered several sets and returned the runners up).

I'd start with browsing Amazon and reading reviews.

livesoft
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by livesoft » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:58 pm

Oneida Paul Revere. Classic. Inexpensive. Your great-great-grandmother probably used it.

But seriously, the main thing is to get spoons that do not bend when getting ice cream out of the carton. So look at thickness of spoon at thinnest part.

Also pieces should be smooth with no pattern, ridges, crevices, etc that dried foods and sauces will stick to or in. That makes them easier to keep clean, especially in a dishwasher.
Last edited by livesoft on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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terran
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by terran » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:05 pm

whatusername? wrote:I got a nice set of Gorham stainless - the "Column II" pattern - last year on Amazon in one of their flash sales for $130/service for 12+serving pieces. It's nice and heavy and feels fancy. Reed & Barton also makes nice sets (I ordered several sets and returned the runners up).

I'd start with browsing Amazon and reading reviews.
The buy and return from amazon is not a bad thought if we can't find someplace locally to try before we buy. Thanks.
livesoft wrote: But seriously, the main thing is to get spoons that do not bend when getting ice cream out of the carton. So look at thickness of spoon at thinnest part.
Excellent point! :D

Although, I guess the alternative is to let the ice cream defrost for a few minutes. Nothing quite as good as ice cream that's starting to get soft.
Last edited by terran on Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JohnFiscal
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by JohnFiscal » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:06 pm

The dipping frozen ice cream is not a good test of tableware; most any spoon will bend (if it doesn't bend, the perpetrator will keep digging and digging until the spoon does bend, then blame the spoon). However, it is certainly fair to check the handles, knife blade, and fork tines for excessive bendiness. Virtually all "cheap" sets bend with little provocation.

User a dipper for ice cream.

Rebecca_S
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by Rebecca_S » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:11 pm

Flatware needs to be chosen for ergonomics, not just looks. It makes a big difference to me how a fork or spoon feels in my hand. We have 16 sets of an old Crate and Barrel design in stainless, it was relatively inexpensive but feels really nice to hold.

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Touch

Post by daveatca » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:26 pm

Fondle it before buying
Made in Japan/Germany/France is the best. Made in the rest of Asia sucks.
Gold trim cannot go in dishwasher.

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lthenderson
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by lthenderson » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:07 am

livesoft wrote:But seriously, the main thing is to get spoons that do not bend when getting ice cream out of the carton. So look at thickness of spoon at thinnest part.
This is my litmus test for good quality flatware as well!

earlyout
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Re: Touch

Post by earlyout » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:18 am

daveatca wrote:Fondle it before buying
Made in Japan/Germany/France is the best. Made in the rest of Asia sucks.
Gold trim cannot go in dishwasher.
We have a set of Yamazaki ss flatware that we have used almost daily for 30 years. Depending on your tap water, the knife blades may spot in the dishwasher but ours looks as good today as when we got it. Very strong and a nice feel. Have never bent a spoon or a fork tine. Worth checking.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by Spirit Rider » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:17 am

lthenderson wrote:
livesoft wrote:But seriously, the main thing is to get spoons that do not bend when getting ice cream out of the carton. So look at thickness of spoon at thinnest part.
This is my litmus test for good quality flatware as well!
Flatware that doesn't easily bend is a decent criteria, but you haven't heard of an ice scream scoop?

Use the proper tool for the job applies just as much in the house as it does in the garage/workshop. Note: I'm not advocating dozens of kitchen gadgets for every little seldom used purpose. However, everyone who eats ice cream should have an ice cream scoop and use it.

Carson
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by Carson » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:55 am

We have 18/10 Oneida and have been very happy with it. 12 years and counting. I don't know how the new stuff compares.
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Hayden
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by Hayden » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:01 am

we found our set on a big sale. Shop around; flatware is sometimes heavily discounted. When we bought, we purchased two sets. That way, if we have a big party, everyone has matching flatware.

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blueblock
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by blueblock » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:56 pm

I enjoy my Cambridge Silversmiths "Linden Mirror" Flatware. The pieces have a nice heft and balance in the hand, and the dinner forks have long tines, which are a thing for me. Durability is good: I used one set for about 6 years and then added to it; you can't tell which is which.

Bloomingdale's Home has them on sale for $35 (20%) off, but that ends in two days.

http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/prod ... ?ID=481367

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lthenderson
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by lthenderson » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:18 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
lthenderson wrote:
livesoft wrote:But seriously, the main thing is to get spoons that do not bend when getting ice cream out of the carton. So look at thickness of spoon at thinnest part.
This is my litmus test for good quality flatware as well!
Flatware that doesn't easily bend is a decent criteria, but you haven't heard of an ice scream scoop?

Use the proper tool for the job applies just as much in the house as it does in the garage/workshop. Note: I'm not advocating dozens of kitchen gadgets for every little seldom used purpose. However, everyone who eats ice cream should have an ice cream scoop and use it.
I blame laziness and the fact that the ice cream scoop is dirty and it seems easier to use a spoon than clean it.

livesoft
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by livesoft » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:19 pm

blueblock wrote:I enjoy my Cambridge Silversmiths "Linden Mirror" Flatware. ...
Those look great to me.

I suppose I need to put in the "Time saving" thread another time-saver: Never use an ice-cream scoop (or bowl) when you can use a spoon to eat directly out of the carton.
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WallyBird
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Re: Touch

Post by WallyBird » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:42 pm

earlyout wrote: We have a set of Yamazaki ss flatware that we have used almost daily for 30 years. Depending on your tap water, the knife blades may spot in the dishwasher but ours looks as good today as when we got it. Very strong and a nice feel. Have never bent a spoon or a fork tine. Worth checking.
I'm likewise happy with my Yamazaki set, though I've only had it for a little over 20 years.

Crate and Barrel used to sell some Yamazaki as their own brand. Not sure if they still do.
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Sandi_k
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by Sandi_k » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:16 pm

My mother has, over the years, done bad things to our flatware. Including piling the pieces on a plate with food scraps + napkin, and then scraping the entire pile into the trash. As a result, we were down to 5 dinner forks and 7 salad forks in our Reed & Barton set.

So we went looking. At Crate and Barrel. At Macy's. At Nordstrom. At Pier One. At Pottery Barn. At Bed, Bath & Beyond. At Target. We looked at a LOT of flatware.

And discovered several things:

- Good flatware is much more expensive than it used to be. Metal prices are up.
- Many manufacturers have now substituted 18/00 grade (thinner, cheaper) for what used to be standard 18/10.
- If it *is* 18/10, many brands are now making much *smaller* pieces - e.g., the dinner forks look like kiddie pieces.
- Even 18/10 is now manufactured in ways that make them feel cheap in the hand.

Two years ago, I browsed through EVERY SINGLE SET of 18/10 flatware sold by Amazon. We like clean lines, not fussy. I like long tines, all the same length. DH doesn't like flattened bowls on the spoons. The new trend of balancing the knife on its edge made us crazy. Who knew we would be so opinionated??!!

In the end, we decided we liked the Nambe Fiona line - the weight seemed heavy enough in comparison to a set we knew we liked (check the shipping weight as a good guide to better-made sets). It's normally priced at $60 per 5 piece place setting - we got it for $25 per setting on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2014.

I agree with the advice to buy a few samples and return what you don't like. But we like the Nambe so much we now HIDE IT when my mom comes to visit, and use the older, incomplete set when we have a houseful of kids and family guests.

I heard that Southern ladies are brought up to inventory their flatware after a dinner party; I now understand why. :D

profnot
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by profnot » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:41 am

I've been using my Oneida set daily for around 35 years. Still looks new. I love it.

Jonathan
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by Jonathan » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:56 am

Into minimalism? Check out the selection at the MOMA store.

http://www.momastore.org/museum/moma/Ca ... Y_Flatware

HIinvestor
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:09 pm

We got our good flatware when it was market down after the holidays at Costco. They are clean lines, no pattern for anything to get stuck in. It is heavier than our ancient flatware I bought when I first moved out. I ended up buying an extra set, so we have flatware for 16 plus 2 5-piece hostess sets of serving utensils.

The kids even noticed how much nicer and heavier this new flatware set is and we all prefer it over outlr old set. I think it was $60 or 70 for the service for 8 + hostess set.

To us, it was money well spent. I use the old flatware when I bring refreshments to meeting instead of plastic utensils. Our new stuff never leaves our home. ;-)

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C8H18Engineer
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by C8H18Engineer » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:15 pm

We like the WMF Manaos series. Very simple design and seems indestructible. We got ours at Crate and Barrel about 15 years ago - it is still available on Amazon.

ResearchMed
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:29 pm

We've used Wallace Continental Bead at the best of our vacation rental properties.
It's a classic design, good for everyday and also for entertaining, assuming one doesn't need silver.
Nice "heft/feel", and not expensive.

It's still made, but not in the larger sets we got (it had an extra "luncheon knife" and a second teaspoon - so it was really like a larger formal setting *and* a smaller one, which we think children probably used).

It's quite heavy, and has stood up beautifully under conditions where the users aren't always paying attention, etc.

We've got some extras, and because we are selling, I'm having them sent back to us as our new "everyday" flatware.
(Extra pieces, one at a time, are ridiculously priced, so we just bought several sets. We needed a few for starters anyway, as it's really a lodge, not just a cabin, with capacity for a lot of guests.)

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goodlifer
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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by goodlifer » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:51 pm

I absolutely LOVE my Oneida Moda set. http://www.carsons.com/sc1/query/moda/o ... 65295.html

Carson's is having their Goodwill sale, so you can get an additional 15% home goods if you donate a piece of clothing, plus the set is already on sale. And if you shop online through the ebates portal, you get a 2% rebate.

Some say the pieces are too heavy, but I would guess it is because they are used to cheap flatware, or the luncheon sized sets. This is a place size set and goes with anything. I have Crate and Barrel, Mikasa, and Wedgwood in varying degrees of formality. It goes with everything, even paper plates. I sold my other 3 sets of flatware when I bought these, so now I only have this and the sterling. Buy something nice and it winds up saving you money.

Had to edit, this is a place size and not dinner size. One of my other sets was dinner sized. It should go without saying it is still larger than the luncheon size.

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Re: Semi-formal flatware

Post by sls239 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:59 pm

We initially bought Oneida Julliard just 20 pieces in 2002 - it is one of the patterns that they say they will make indefinitely.

So in late 2007 when retailers were panicking - I got a 2nd set (for 12 I think) and a serving set at an outlet mall.

I have had one or two butter knives that aren't so great after years in the dishwasher. But that's about it. We use it for everything, we don't have any other.

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