The teaspoon was invented in late 17th century England and has been an indispensable part of a proper flatware collection ever since. In the United States, the modern teaspoon holds 5 fluid milliliters. From stirring tea to scooping out sugar, a teaspoon can help you get your dishes and drinks just right.What does a teaspoon look like?
- A teaspoon is a small spoon with a head and a long handle. The head, or bowl is usually oval, though some teaspoons have heads shaped like flowers, skulls, seashells, or musical instruments. These types of spoons are really for scooping sugar and stirring. Teaspoons with exceptionally long handles are for stirring iced tea or for desserts. Nearly every teaspoon you can buy has a pattern on the handle. It may be very ornate or very simple. Flatware patterns are almost too numerous to list.
- There are also teaspoons that are used to measure ingredients for cooking. These spoons are much less ornate and usually come in a set of measuring spoons. Two of the more popular materials for measuring teaspoons are plastic and stainless steel.
- These small spoons are usually sold in sets of two or more. They may also come with forks, dinner knives, tablespoons, and pie servers.
They are made of:
- Stainless steel. Also called “stainless,” this is steel, itself an alloy of carbon and iron, with chromium added. It’s used for flatware because it is hard, doesn’t corrode or rust, and is easy to shape. Stainless steel can have a finish that gives it rainbow colors or the look of real silver, wrought iron, or even gold. Most teaspoons for everyday use are made of stainless steel.
- Silver plate. This is a layer of silver placed over a base metal.
- Porcelain. Some teaspoons are made entirely of porcelain while others have porcelain handles.
- Disposable plastic
- Golden electroplate. Like silver plate, this is a layer of gold over a base metal.
- 830 silver. This is silver from Scandinavia that’s 83 percent silver and 17 percent another metal.
Teaspoon handles are usually made of the same material as the bowl, but not always. Handles can:
- Be made of porcelain
- Be made of composite. Some spoons have handles that are made to look like wood.
- Have cartoon characters, hearts or animals on the ends.
- Be decorated with rhinestones.
- Be made of plastic. Some handles are pearlized for a more elegant look.
- Be made of wood.
- Resemble twigs.
- Have gold insets.
Interestingly, a teaspoon is not placed on the table in a typical place setting. However, if you’re having a formal dinner party, the teaspoon, which can double as a dessert spoon, can be placed above the dessert fork. This fork is placed above the charger.