Why Are They Called Charger Plates


Why Are They Called Charger Plates?

If you’ve ever been to a formal dinner or a fancy restaurant, you may have noticed the use of charger plates. These large decorative plates are placed underneath the dinner plate and are not meant to be used for food. But have you ever wondered why they are called charger plates? In this article, we will explore the origin of charger plates and their purpose. We will also answer some frequently asked questions regarding charger plates.

Origin of Charger Plates:

The use of charger plates can be traced back to medieval times. In the 14th century, medieval nobility began using large decorated plates as a base for their dinnerware. These plates were not intended for food consumption but rather served as a decorative element to enhance the presentation of the meal. The term “charger” is derived from the old English word “chargeour,” which means “that which is loaded or filled.” Charger plates were loaded with delicious food and filled with elegance and sophistication.

Purpose of Charger Plates:

Charger plates serve multiple purposes in the world of fine dining. Firstly, they add a touch of elegance and grandeur to the table setting. The large size and decorative designs of charger plates create a visually appealing and luxurious ambiance. They elevate the overall presentation of the meal, making it appear more sophisticated and formal.

Secondly, charger plates serve a practical purpose by protecting the tablecloth or table surface from any spills or stains. As they are placed underneath the dinner plate, any food or liquid that may accidentally spill is caught by the charger plate, preventing it from reaching the tablecloth. This not only helps in maintaining cleanliness but also reduces the need for frequent tablecloth changes during an elaborate multi-course meal.

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Lastly, charger plates act as a placeholder for each course. They help define the individual place setting and provide a clear distinction between each dish. When a course is completed, the charger plate is removed, and a new one is placed for the next course. This ensures that each course is presented with utmost attention and precision.

FAQs about Charger Plates:

1. Can charger plates be used for eating?

No, charger plates are purely decorative and should not be used for eating. They are not designed to hold food directly and are meant to be removed before the meal begins.

2. What materials are charger plates made of?

Charger plates are available in a variety of materials, including glass, porcelain, metal, and even plastic. The choice of material depends on personal preference and the desired aesthetic for the table setting.

3. Are charger plates necessary for a formal dinner?

While charger plates are not essential for a formal dinner, they certainly enhance the overall presentation and create a more refined atmosphere. They are commonly used in upscale restaurants, weddings, and other special occasions.

4. How do I clean charger plates?

The cleaning process for charger plates varies depending on the material. Porcelain or glass charger plates can be washed by hand using warm soapy water. Metal charger plates should be wiped with a soft cloth to maintain their shine. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning recommendations.

5. Can charger plates be used for other purposes?

Yes, charger plates have become popular for various decorative purposes beyond dining. They can be used as centerpieces, candle holders, or even as wall art. Their versatility makes them a valuable addition to any home decor.

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In conclusion, charger plates have a rich history dating back to medieval times. They add an element of elegance to any table setting, protect the tablecloth, and define each course. While not essential, charger plates have become synonymous with formal dining and continue to be a popular choice for special occasions. Whether you choose glass, porcelain, or metal, charger plates are a timeless decorative piece that adds a touch of sophistication to any dining experience.