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The Chinese soup spoon, usually ceramic and of a distinct shape, can vary in size from normal soup spoon size to near-platter size.
The British soup spoon is the size of a dessert spoon (i.e. smaller than a tablespoon), but with a deeper, more circular bowl for holding liquid. Modern soup spoons are usually stainless steel or silver plated, but in the past wooden and horn spoons were more common. The idea of including a separate soup spoon in a table setting originated in the eighteenth century, when the bowl shapes varied widely, deep or shallow, oval, pointed, egg-shaped or circular. Spoon shapes became more standardized in nineteenth century silverware.
The rounded form of soup spoon is not generally used in continental Europe, where an oval shaped spoon is traditionally used.
- Bee Wilson. Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat. (New York: Basic Books, 2012 ISBN 9780465021765), pp. 182-188.