Flatware A knife, a fork, and a spoon. Flatware is so common you never think about it unless one is missing. But how did we get to this point? And what is sterling silver anyway? It wasn't long ago that these items were a rare sight on a table. Would it surprise you to know the English poet Chaucer probably ate his food off stale pieces of bread, or that the Catholic Church at one time banned the fork? Thankfully none of this is true anymore. Time and custom have decided the standard flatware set, and brilliant designers have created flatware that is far superior to a stale piece of bread.