Shopping for Serving Utensils – The New York Times

“The things that we interact with every day are the things that should get the most thought in terms of design,” said Joe Doucet, a New York product designer.

Serving utensils, for example: They might not be the center of attention when the big platter of meat and potatoes arrives at the table, but try getting the food onto your plate without them.

In the rush to put dinner on the table, serving utensils might be easy to overlook. But Mr. Doucet — who has created cake servers and cheese knives, and was responsible for the 3D-printed tableware at the “Tablescapes: Designs for Dining” exhibit currently on view at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum — advised choosing them with care.

If your utensils are beautifully designed, they not only make serving easier, but also bring a sense of occasion to any meal. “They’re something you hold in your hands and have a physical experience with,” he said.

Like dishes and other cutlery, he added, “they’re unsung heroes that get us through our lives.”

  • How do they feel when you pick them up? “Ergonomics play a huge role,” said Mr. Doucet, who has designed right- and left-handed flatware. “Holding a spoon can be very awkward.”

  • What are they made of? Stainless steel is easy to clean and nearly indestructible, but there are plenty of other options, including wood, ceramic, horn and other metals.

  • Do you plan to keep them a long time? “Buy quality,” advised Mr. Doucet, who disapproves of utensils so cheap they are destined to end up in the trash. “It’s time to adopt a 19th-century mind-set again: ‘I’m buying this and my grandkids are going to use it one day.’”

Stainless steel and brass server inspired by a flower stem

$65 at Michael Aram: 866-792-2726 or

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