I'm all out of spoons
February 10, 2012 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Why is modern flatware so huge? Can anyone recommend some nice, not overly expensive, and small flatware sets?

Our current set of flatware is several different old sets mixed together, from various times and households. Because I tend to use the smaller spoons and forks for everything, these are the ones that get left out on the patio and stolen by raccoons, or dropped down the garbage disposal and chewed up. Time to start over.

Even with these older sets, I found the actual dinner fork and soup spoons too large to use comfortably, and relied on the salad forks and dessert spoons for everything. Shopping for flatware this time around has led me to discover that everything has gotten even larger (and often uglier). I spent an hour staring at flatware in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and finally went with a set of Gourmet Settings that looked nice, and felt good in the hand. In the store, it looked okay, proportionally. Probably because it was surrounded by other massive pieces of flatware. When I got it home, I discovered that their smallest spoon was larger than even the large spoons in my current set. It went back.

I've looked around online quite a bit, but again, it's hard to tell size online, and I'm unwilling to risk the money without a little more information or a recommendation. I'm looking for a clean style, without a lot of frills, but it doesn't have to be just straight and plain. Curves and style can be interesting and fun. Some of the Yamazaki have looked nice, but I cannot find a location to see them in person. Some of the Misaki also look good - same problem. I want a full set, for more grown-up occasions, rather than just going somewhere and buying out all their dessert spoons.

Any recommendations?
posted by instead of three wishes to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I have these; I like them and I think our criteria are similar. They're a nice weight, and have pleasant proportions, especially the spoons. I hate big spoons. Even the tablespoons are easy to eat with... no mouth-stretching.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:21 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh and the other thing about that set is it's ubiquitous, if you lose pieces it's easy to find replacements. Every few years I seem to need to buy more (where do they go?) and it's never a problem.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:24 AM on February 10, 2012

I have found that expensive flatware is much larger than cheap flatware. I buy all of my flatware at Target and WalMart, primarily because of the size. If you want something higher quality, maybe try a thrift store or eBay, where people might sell older sets that predate the huge spoon trend.
posted by decathecting at 8:30 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have never found a new set of flatware that I liked, so I had been keeping an eye out for something old but nice for a while. The set we've had for a year or so now is on the small side, it's called "Spanish Court" from Oneida, c. 1975. There's usually complete place sets on ebay or replacements.com.

When I first found them, I said "Why are these ridiculously small?" and now, "Why is everyone else's silverware so huge?"
posted by helicomatic at 8:46 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oneida has a patter called Dover that's been around since 1968; it's not monster-sized. The silver has been retired, but the stainless is still around. Has some flowers so may not be to your taste, but --

There are other (long-produced) silver patterns that are also made in stainless and are therefore the older, smaller size; a trip to a store like Macy's might help to look at options, and then you could look around for prices or wait for a sale.

I have the same problem you do with most silverware; the dinner forks are uncomfortably huge, the soup spoons are like serving spoons, and they're all so big they don't fit in my dishwasher properly! With my current set I just bought double salad forks and teaspoons so I can use those for both at home ... only guests get forks of different sizes.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:54 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, try bringing one of your own spoons/forks with you to the store when you go flatware shopping next time, so you're not fooled by comparative sizes again!
posted by Grither at 8:56 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ikea has really inexpensive but durable flatware, and many of the lower-priced sets are also smaller in size.

You can also find smaller pieces if you look for buffet sets, especially the ones that hang from a caddy like this one
posted by Mchelly at 9:00 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Paul Revere by Oneida. Often on sale on replacements.com, especially so if you don't mind some imperfections.
posted by expialidocious at 9:08 AM on February 10, 2012

I have small hands, and have been using Oneida's Dylan set for several years now. Like you, I use the smaller forks and spoons from the set (salad forks and teaspoons), but the "larger" ones aren't too ginormous.

One of my other criteria is there be no sharp edges on the sides or ends, and these are smooth and nicely curved.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We at Chez Fleebnork have this set from Mikasa. I liked it for its simple design, but also everything is nicely rounded and enlongated, so you don't have particularly wide spoons or forks.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:54 AM on February 10, 2012

Find a restaurant supply house and take a look at their flatware selections. I'm pretty sure you'll find something in a size you prefer and at a great price.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:57 AM on February 10, 2012

I have this same issue - I grew up with Oneida Paul Revere, which is only a bit bigger than the really cheap stuff. I can't afford $14 a spoon right now, so I went with Oneida Flight, which is a little bit bigger than Paul Revere.

I watch this thread with interest.
posted by SMPA at 10:14 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

We have Oneida Flight in our house and I would say the pieces are in general slightly larger than the cheap 1980s flatware that my parents have. The teaspoons are appropriately small, but the salad forks seem "wide" (wider tines than the dinner forks).
posted by cabingirl at 12:28 PM on February 10, 2012

Response by poster: We at Chez Fleebnork have this set from Mikasa.

It also looks like the Mikasa are 18/0. All I know of stainless quality is from recent searches of google. Have you had any rust problems at all with them?
posted by instead of three wishes at 12:31 PM on February 10, 2012

The wide fork thing had me looking for examples. How about something like this from Ikea? The salad fork looks appropriately narrow. Ok, yea, it's Ikea and that's maybe not your idea of grown-up, but just having a set of new, matching silverware will look better than a random assortment.
posted by cabingirl at 12:33 PM on February 10, 2012

Best answer: We have the "Norse" flatware set from Ginkgo because I am like you and I hate gigantic flatware. It's sturdy, unfrilly flatware that is not made for a giant. I saw some pieces for sale at a Whole Foods and wrote down the name so I could look them up online later because I liked them so much. It's been several years and they've held up really well.
posted by meggan at 1:48 PM on February 10, 2012

Best answer: So, as a follow up --

I gave a lot of consideration to the Mikasa and the Norse, as great possibilities.

I unexpectedly ended up going with a set not suggested here, the WMF Taika Stainless Steel Flatware service for 8.


This would have been over the budget I set for myself, however, Amazon seems to infrequently have these sets come up under their returns/warehouse deals section for half price. (So, from $400 it dropped to $200). I also had a gift card for $100, and was happy enough to pay $100 of my own money for a set of 8 (plus a few other pieces).

A link to what the new set looks like, next to my old set, is below, in this order

Knife from unknown set
Taika Knife
Pfatzgraff Large Spoon
Taika Large Spoon
Pfatzgraff Small Spoon
Taika Small Spoon
Taika Espresso Spoon
Pfatzgraff Large Fork
Taika Large Fork
Pfatzgraff Small Fork
Taika Small Fork

Assorted Pfatzgraff v. Taika

The old set was a comfortable size for me, and we would have stuck with it if we hadn't lost so many pieces. The new set works well for me, I'm happy to say. I'm not sure it would for everyone. The small fork and spoon are close to being the same size as the Pfatzgraff, but because they are so much narrower, they seem much, much smaller. Some of the reviews refer to them as being for children, so obviously other people were not as pleased. Also, the Taika large spoon, fork, and knife, have serious reach on them, and are TALL. I find this useful for stirring things in tall glasses, and I am comfortable with the way they feel, but it might not be for everyone.

Thanks for all the help, everyone!
posted by instead of three wishes at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2012

Sorry, I didn't see your question from before. We have had no problems with the Mikasa set. It's now 16 years old.

Glad you found something!
posted by Fleebnork at 2:41 PM on March 28, 2012

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