Why Is a Charger Plate Called a Charger


Why is a Charger Plate Called a Charger?

Have you ever wondered why a charger plate is called a “charger”? These decorative plates have been around for centuries and are often seen in upscale restaurants, elegant weddings, and formal events. They serve as a base for other dinnerware and add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any table setting. But where did the name “charger” come from? In this article, we will explore the origin of charger plates and answer some frequently asked questions about their usage.

Origin of the Name “Charger”:

The term “charger” for a decorative plate has its roots in Middle English and Old French. In Middle English, “charger” referred to any large, flat dish or platter. It was derived from the Old French word “chargeour,” which meant a large dish or platter used for serving food. Over time, this term evolved to specifically refer to decorative plates used as a base for other dinnerware, known as charger plates.

The Function of a Charger Plate:

Charger plates are primarily used as a decorative element in table settings. They serve as a base for other dinnerware, such as soup bowls, salad plates, and dinner plates. adding a charger plate underneath, the table setting becomes more visually appealing and sophisticated. Charger plates are usually larger and more ornate than regular dinner plates, often featuring intricate designs, metallic finishes, or unique textures.

Charger plates are not meant to be eaten from, and they are typically removed from the table before the main course is served. They act as a canvas for the rest of the tableware, enhancing the overall presentation of the meal. Charger plates can be made from a variety of materials, including glass, porcelain, metal, or plastic, depending on the desired aesthetic and occasion.

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FAQs about Charger Plates:

Q: Are charger plates necessary?

A: Charger plates are not essential for everyday dining, but they are commonly used for special occasions and formal events. They add a touch of elegance and elevate the dining experience.

Q: What size should a charger plate be?

A: Charger plates come in various sizes, but the most common diameter is around 13 to 14 inches. This size allows enough space for other dinnerware to be placed on top without overcrowding the table setting.

Q: Can charger plates be used with any dinnerware?

A: Charger plates can be used with a wide range of dinnerware, as long as the sizes complement each other. The charger plate should be larger than the dinner plate or other tableware placed on top.

Q: How should charger plates be cleaned?

A: Charger plates should be cleaned according to the material they are made from. Glass and porcelain chargers can usually be hand-washed or placed in a dishwasher, while metal chargers should be hand-washed to avoid damage. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and care.

Q: Can charger plates be used outdoors?

A: Charger plates can be used outdoors, but it is essential to consider the material and design. Plastic or melamine chargers are more suitable for outdoor use due to their durability and resistance to breakage.

In conclusion, charger plates are called “chargers” due to their historical association with large serving dishes. They have evolved into decorative plates used as a base for other dinnerware, adding elegance and sophistication to table settings. Charger plates are not meant to be eaten from but act as a decorative element, enhancing the overall presentation of a meal. They come in various sizes and can be made from different materials, allowing for customization to fit any occasion. Whether used for formal events or special occasions, charger plates are a timeless addition to any table setting.

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