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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.