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Historically, a credenza was a piece of furniture comprising a central cupboard flanked by symmetrical quadrant glass display cabinets, usually made of burnished and polished wood and decorated with marquetry. The top would often be made of marble, or another decorative stone, or of inlaid wood. It became very fashionable during the second half of the 19th century.
In modern times, a credenza is more often a type of sideboard used in the home or restaurant. In dining rooms, it is typically made from wood and used as a platform to serve buffet meals. In restaurant kitchens, made from stainless steel, it provides a side surface and storage cupboards.
Originally in Italian the name meant belief. In the 16th century the act of credenza was the tasting of food and drinks by a servant for a lord or other important person (such as the pope or a cardinal) in order to test for poison. The name passed then to the room where the act took place, then to the furniture.
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