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Spoons & Their Uses For Dinner Table

In the world of dining etiquette, the simple spoon plays a surprisingly important role. It's not just a utensil; it's a tool that enhances the enjoyment of our meals. As Julia Child once said, "A spoon is a tool for transferring food to the mouth. That's why it's called a 'spoon'." From the delicate teaspoon to the hearty soup spoon, each type of spoon has its own story to tell. Join us on a journey through the intricate world of spoons, where every scoop adds a touch of elegance to the dining experience.

Spoon Etiquette
Spoons and Their Uses For Dinner Table

Types of Spoons and Their Uses

  • Teaspoon: A teaspoon is the smallest spoon used for stirring tea or coffee, as well as for adding sugar or milk to hot beverages. As Julia Child once said, "A teaspoon of happiness in every cup."

  • Tablespoon: A tablespoon is larger than a teaspoon and is used for serving food, such as measuring ingredients for cooking or serving portions at the table. It is a versatile spoon that can be used for both cooking and eating.

  • Soup Spoon: A soup spoon has a round bowl and is deeper than a tablespoon. It is used for eating soups, stews, and other liquid-based dishes. As Julie Powell discovered, "A good soup spoon can make all the difference in enjoying a hearty bowl of soup."

  • Dessert Spoon: A dessert spoon is smaller than a tablespoon but larger than a teaspoon. It is used for eating desserts or other soft foods. As Julia Child once said, "A dessert spoon is like a little treasure chest, holding the sweetest delights."

  • Espresso Spoon: An espresso spoon is a small spoon used for stirring espresso or eating small desserts served with espresso. It is designed to fit neatly on the saucer of an espresso cup.

  • Caviar Spoon: A caviar spoon is a small, shallow spoon used for serving caviar. It is often made of mother-of-pearl or another non-metallic material to avoid altering the taste of the caviar.

  • Grapefruit Spoon: A grapefruit spoon has a serrated edge and is used for scooping out the flesh of grapefruits or other citrus fruits. It is designed to make it easier to eat these fruits without making a mess.

Each type of spoon has its own unique purpose and design, making it a valuable tool in the culinary world. As Julia Child once said, "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." And a good spoon is an essential part of creating and enjoying that good food.

Typical Placement of Forks and Spoons


  • Forks are placed to the left of the dinner plate.

  • The salad fork is usually placed furthest left, followed by the dinner fork, and then any other specialty forks (e.g., fish fork).

  • The tines (prongs) of the forks should face upwards.


  • Spoons are placed to the right of the dinner plate.

  • The soup spoon is placed closest to the plate, followed by any other specialty spoons (e.g., dessert spoon).

  • The bowl of the spoon should face upwards.

Reasons for Placement:

  • Placing forks to the left and spoons to the right is practical for right-handed individuals, as most people use their dominant hand (right hand) to pick up food from the plate.

  • This placement also follows a historical etiquette that developed in European dining traditions.

  • The arrangement helps in maintaining a consistent and organized table setting, reflecting attention to detail and refinement in dining practices.

It's worth noting that different cultures and formal dining situations may have variations in utensil placement, but the guidelines above are commonly followed in Western dining etiquette.

Comparison Between European and Korean Etiquette of Spoon Placement

The placement of spoons in dining etiquette can reflect deep cultural values and traditions. In European cultures, including French and Italian customs, the placement of spoons to the right of the knife is rooted in historical dining practices and etiquette norms. It reflects a traditional dining style where the spoon is used for specific purposes like soups or desserts, and its placement allows for easy access when needed during the meal.

Because the art of dining is not just about the food; it's about the entire experience, from the placement of the spoon to the selection of the wine.

In Korean culture, the use of spoons alongside chopsticks is deeply ingrained in the culinary tradition. The placement of the spoon to the right of the bowl or plate, with the chopsticks to the left, reflects the complementary nature of these utensils. The spoon is used for eating rice and soups, while the chopsticks are used for other dishes. This reflects the cultural value of balance and harmony in Korean cuisine and dining etiquette.

In Korean dining, the spoon and chopsticks are like yin and yang, each playing a vital role in creating a harmonious meal.

The significance of spoon placement in both cultures goes beyond mere practicality; it embodies cultural values related to respect, balance, and harmony in dining. It emphasizes the importance of respecting food and the dining experience, as well as the cultural traditions and customs associated with it.

Choosing the Best Table Spoon


Metinox Century Cutlery: Crafted from premium stainless steel, the Metinox Century collection embodies timeless durability, ensuring longevity and resistance to corrosion. As Julia Child once remarked, "Quality materials are the foundation of a well-equipped kitchen."

Metinox Gassan Cutlery: With its sleek and modern design, the Gassan series elevates your dining experience to new heights. Its premium stainless steel construction not only exudes sophistication but also promises durability.

Metinox Kisna Cutlery: The Kisna line combines contemporary flair with an elegant matte finish, creating an ambiance of refined grace at your table. Its design speaks to the words of Coco Chanel, "Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance."

Metinox Luke Cutlery: Functional yet stylish, the Luke collection seamlessly transitions from casual family dinners to formal soirées. Its versatile design embodies the notion that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," as echoed by Leonardo da Vinci.

Metinox Maria Cutlery: Embrace the timeless allure of classic design with the Maria series. Ideal for traditional table settings, its grace and charm evoke memories of simpler times, resonating with the sentiment that "classic never goes out of style."

Metinox Munnar Cutlery: Practicality meets elegance with the Munnar collection, renowned for its ergonomic design and comfortable grip. As William Morris famously said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

Metinox Sushi Cutlery: Elevate your sushi experience with specialized utensils designed for optimal enjoyment. With a unique and purposeful shape, the Sushi collection ensures that every bite is a culinary delight, echoing the sentiment that "details create the big picture."


Consider the spoon's shape, handle length, and weight, ensuring it aligns with your dining style and comfort preferences. Seek a balanced design that not only feels comfortable to hold but also adds an element of aesthetic pleasure to your dining table. As Albert Hadley once remarked, "Design is coming to grips with one's real lifestyle, one's real place in the world."


Prioritize spoons that are easy to clean and maintain, especially if they are used frequently in your household. Take into account the size and depth of the spoon's bowl, catering to the types of dishes typically served. Practicality meets elegance in the wise words of Frank Lloyd Wright: "Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union."

The quest for the ideal tablespoon is as much a journey of personal preference as it is a pursuit of culinary elegance. By investing in a set of high-quality spoons that resonate with your dining habits and aesthetic aspirations, you elevate every meal to a symphony of sophistication. As Julia Child once professed, "Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal."

Proper Arrangement of Dining Utensils

The proper arrangement of dining utensils follows a standard etiquette that reflects attention to detail and enhances the dining experience. Here's a typical arrangement for spoons, forks, and knives:


Place the soup spoon to the right of the plate, with the bowl of the spoon facing outward.

If serving dessert, place the dessert spoon or fork above the plate, parallel to the edge of the table.


Arrange forks to the left of the plate, with the salad fork placed on the outermost left, followed by the dinner fork.

Specialty forks, such as fish forks, should be placed in order of use from left to right, if applicable.


Place the dinner knife to the right of the plate, with the blade facing inward.

If serving multiple courses that require different knives, place them in order of use from right to left, with the blade of each knife facing the plate.

Other Utensils:

Place any additional utensils, such as butter knives or seafood forks, above the plate, aligned with the other utensils.

Placement Tips:

Arrange utensils in the order they will be used, from the outside in.

Ensure that all utensils are aligned parallel to the edge of the table and evenly spaced.

Proper arrangement of dining utensils not only enhances the visual appeal of the table setting but also ensures that guests have the necessary utensils for each course of the meal.

Use “BMW" Trick

Bread plate and Butter knife:

Remember that the bread plate and butter knife always go on the left side of the place setting. The bread plate is on the left because "bread" starts with "B," and the butter knife is placed on the bread plate.

Main course fork and Main course knife:

The main course fork and knife are placed closest to the plate because they are the primary utensils used for the main course. "Main course" and "M" both start with the same letter, making it easy to remember their placement.

Water glass and Wine glass:

The water glass is placed above the main course knife, and the wine glass is placed above the water glass. Remember that "W" for "water" comes before "W" for "wine," so the water glass is placed closer to the center of the table setting.

Using the "BMW" trick can help you quickly recall the correct placement of utensils when setting the table for a formal dining occasion.

Table Manner

Basic table manners related to the use of spoons include:

Holding the Spoon:

  • Hold the spoon with your dominant hand, using your index finger to stabilize the handle and your thumb to support the bowl of the spoon.

  • Avoid gripping the spoon too tightly, as this can appear clumsy or aggressive.

Using the Spoon:

  • When eating soup, scoop the soup away from you, and sip from the side of the spoon, rather than the tip.

  • For foods like rice or vegetables, push the food onto the back of the spoon using your fork, then lift the spoon to your mouth.

Avoiding Noises:

  • Try to eat quietly, avoiding clinking the spoon against the bowl or making loud slurping sounds.

Placing the Spoon:

  • After using the spoon, place it on the side of the plate or bowl, rather than leaving it in the dish.

Trick to Remember:

To remember the proper way to hold and use a spoon politely, think of it as a "magic wand." Imagine that the spoon is your wand, and you are using it gracefully to scoop up delicious food and bring it to your mouth. By visualizing the spoon as a magical tool, you can easily remember to hold and use it with finesse and elegance.

Benefits of Using a Spoon Rest

  • Maintains Cleanliness: A spoon rest prevents your dining table or countertop from getting dirty by providing a designated place for your spoon to rest between uses.

  • Prevents Cross-Contamination: Using a spoon rest reduces the risk of cross-contamination by keeping the spoon from coming into contact with other surfaces or foods.

  • Preserves Tableware: Placing a hot spoon on a cold surface can cause thermal shock, potentially damaging delicate tableware. A spoon rest provides a safe place to rest hot utensils.

  • Enhances Presentation: A decorative spoon rest can add a touch of elegance to your table setting, enhancing the overall presentation of your meal.

How to Choose a Spoon Rest

Material: Choose a spoon rest made from heat-resistant materials like stainless steel, ceramic, or silicone to protect your table surface from heat damage.

Design: Select a spoon rest that complements your tableware and overall dining aesthetic. Consider the shape, color, and pattern of the spoon rest to ensure it blends seamlessly with your existing decor.

Size: Ensure the spoon rest is large enough to accommodate your spoons and other utensils comfortably, but not so large that it overwhelms your table setting.

Easy to Clean: Look for a spoon rest that is easy to clean and dishwasher-safe for convenience.

Horeca Stop:

  • At Horeca Stop, we believe that a spoon rest is not just a practical accessory but also a statement of style and sophistication.

  • Our range of spoon rests is designed to complement any tableware, from classic to contemporary, adding a touch of elegance to your dining experience.

  • Made from high-quality materials, our spoon rests are durable, heat-resistant, and easy to clean, ensuring they remain a staple in your kitchen for years to come.

By choosing a spoon rest that complements your tableware and offers practical benefits, you can create an impressive dining table that reflects your attention to detail and enhances the overall dining experience.

Etiquette for Using Real Silverware at Parties and Formal Dinners


  • Silverware should be placed in the order of use, from the outside in. For example, the salad fork is placed to the left of the dinner fork because it is typically used before the main course.

  • Dessert utensils, such as a dessert spoon and fork, are placed horizontally above the dinner plate, with the spoon handle facing left and the fork handle facing right.


  • Hold silverware properly, with your index finger on the back of the fork or spoon handle and your thumb on top. Avoid gripping the utensil tightly.

  • Use silverware quietly, without clinking against the plate or making excessive noise.

Resting Position:

  • When resting between bites or courses, place the fork and knife diagonally across the plate, with the fork tines facing up and the knife blade facing inward.

After Use:

  • When finished, place the knife and fork together on the plate in the "finished" position, with the fork tines facing up and the knife blade facing inward, forming an inverted "V."

Importance of Proper Placement and Use of Silverware:

  • Proper placement and use of silverware demonstrate respect for the host and other guests, as well as an understanding of formal dining etiquette.

  • It helps create an elegant and organized table setting, enhancing the overall dining experience for everyone.

  • Using silverware correctly also shows attention to detail and sophistication, reflecting positively on your manners and social skills.

A memorable tip from the movie "Julie & Julia" is to imagine you are on a cooking show while preparing a meal. This mindset can help you focus, stay organized, and enjoy the process of cooking. Applying this tip to silverware etiquette, you could pretend you are hosting a formal dinner party and want to impress your guests with your impeccable table manners. This playful visualization can help you remember the proper placement and use of silverware.

Other Dining Etiquette

Using the Correct Fork in Different Dining Situations:

Salad Fork:

  • Use the salad fork to eat salad or appetizers served before the main course.

  • It is typically smaller than the dinner fork and may have slightly wider tines.

Dinner Fork:

  • The dinner fork is used for the main course of the meal.

  • It is larger than the salad fork and is placed closest to the plate in a formal table setting.

Fish Fork:

  • If fish is served, a special fish fork may be provided.

  • The fish fork has a slightly different shape, often with a broader, flattened end.

Dessert Fork:

  • The dessert fork is used for eating dessert.

  • It is smaller than the dinner fork and is sometimes paired with a dessert spoon.

Rules for Using Spoons at a Family Dinner Table:

General Use:

  • Use the soup spoon for eating soups, stews, and other liquid-based dishes.

  • Use the dessert spoon for eating desserts or other soft foods.

Proper Handling:

  • Hold the spoon with your dominant hand and use it to scoop up food gently.

  • Avoid slurping or making excessive noise while eating with a spoon.

Placement After Use:

  • After using a spoon, place it on the side of your plate or bowl, with the bowl facing upwards.

  • Do not leave the spoon in the dish or bowl when not in use.

Respecting Others:

  • Be mindful of your table manners and considerate of others sharing the meal with you.

  • Avoid playing with your spoon or using it to gesture while talking.

By following these guidelines, you can use the correct fork and spoon in various dining situations and demonstrate proper etiquette at the family dinner table.

My Final Thought

Spoons are often overlooked in the grand scheme of table settings, yet they play a crucial role in the dining experience. They are not merely utensils but tools that enhance the enjoyment of our meals. As Julia Child once said, "A spoon is a tool for transferring food to the mouth. That's why it's called a 'spoon'."

Paying attention to dining etiquette, including the proper use and placement of spoons, can elevate a meal from ordinary to extraordinary. It's not just about following rules; it's about showing respect for the food, the company, and the occasion. Julie Powell, in her culinary journey, discovered that "Every woman should have a blowtorch" - a humorous take on the importance of being prepared and attentive in the kitchen and at the table.

At Horeca Stop, we understand the importance of every detail in creating a memorable dining experience. Just as a well-placed spoon can enhance a meal, proper dining etiquette can elevate a dining experience. Let's raise our spoons to good food, good company, and good manners. Let's savor each bite, knowing that we are not just eating but engaging in a ritual that connects us to our past, present, and future. As Julia Child famously said, "People who love to eat are always the best people." Let's be the best people we can be, one spoonful at a time.


How many tablespoons are in a dinner spoon?

  • A dinner spoon is typically larger than a tablespoon, so there is generally one tablespoon in a dinner spoon.

Where do people usually keep forks and spoons?

  • Forks and spoons are typically placed to the left of the plate, while knives are placed to the right.

How to choose the best table spoon for your dining table?

  • Consider the material, design, and practicality of the spoon. Choose a spoon that fits your dining style and comfort preferences.

What is the proper arrangement for dining utensils?

  • Forks are placed to the left of the plate, knives to the right (blade facing the plate), and spoons to the right of the knife.

Is a tablespoon just a spoon?

  • A tablespoon is a specific type of spoon used for measuring and serving, but in general, a spoon can refer to any utensil with a handle and a shallow bowl for eating or serving.

What are all the table manners at a family dinner table?

  • Table manners at a family dinner table include chewing with your mouth closed, not talking with food in your mouth, and waiting for everyone to be served before starting to eat.

How do I make our dining table impressive with a spoon rest?

  • Choose a spoon rest that complements your tableware and adds to the aesthetic appeal of your table setting.

Why does it matter what side silverware goes on the table?

  • The placement of silverware on the table follows traditional etiquette and helps to create an organized and visually appealing table setting.

What spoon is bigger than a tablespoon?

  • A serving spoon is typically larger than a tablespoon and is used for serving food at the table.

What is the etiquette for using real silverware at parties?

  • When using real silverware at parties, follow the same etiquette as you would for any formal dining occasion, including using the correct utensils for each course and placing them correctly on the table.

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