A dessert spoon is a spoon designed specifically for eating dessert and sometimes used for soup or cereals. Similar in size to a soup spoon (intermediate between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) but with an oval rather than round bowl, it typically has a capacity around twice that of a teaspoon.
The use of dessert spoons around the world varies greatly; in some areas, they are very common while in other places the use of the dessert spoon is almost unheard of—with diners using forks or teaspoons for their desserts instead.
As a unit of culinary measure, a level dessertspoon (dstspn.) equals two teaspoons, or 10 milliliters, whereas a tablespoon is three teaspoons, 15 milliliters or one half ounce. In Australia a tablespoon is two dessertspoons, or 20 milliliters, which is the old British standard. For dry ingredients, a rounded or heaped teaspoonful is often specified instead.
As a unit of Apothecary measure, the dessert-spoon was an unofficial but widely used unit of fluid measure equal to two fluid drams, or 1⁄4 fluid ounce. In the USA and pre-1824 England, the fluid ounce was 1⁄128 of a Queen Anne wine gallon (which was defined as exactly 231 cubic inches) thus making the dessert-spoon approximately 7.39 cc. The post-1824 (British) imperial Apothecaries' dessert-spoon was also 1⁄4 fluid ounce, but the ounce in question was 1⁄160 of an imperial gallon, which was originally defined as 277.274 cubic inches, but later adjusted to approximately 277.419433 cubic inches, in either case yielding a dessert-spoon of approximately 7.10 cc.
In both the British and American variants of the Apothecaries' system, two tea-spoons make a dessert-spoon, while two dessert-spoons make a table-spoon. In pharmaceutical Latin, the Apothecaries' dessert-spoon is known as cochleare medium, abbreviated as cochl. med. or less frequently coch. med., as opposed to the tea-spoon (cochleare minus or minimum) and table-spoon (cochelare magis or magnum).
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- Silver place settings, from Butler's Guild
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