Discover the Origins of These Cooking Tools

Trivet

It's Thanksgiving and steaming plates of homemade fare are streaming out of the kitchen, but how do you spare your poor table from all that sizzling crockery? The trusty trivet, of course! A trivet is a small metal plate, often with three short legs, that is put under a hot dish to protect the table. Trivet means "three-footed" in Latin, from the roots tri and pes, though nowadays some trivets don't have any legs at all.

Ramekin

When you want just a dollop of cranberry sauce, there's no need to fill a whole bowl; just reach for a ramekin! This small dish in which food can be baked or served graces many Thanksgiving tables. The word's etymology makes a cameo in both French as ramequin and Middle Dutch as rammeken.

Carafe

Though it might sound French, carafe actually comes from the Arabic word gharrafah meaning "dipper" or "drinking vessel." Today a carafe can be any wide-mouthed bottle with a lip or spout for serving beverages. From cider to eggnog, carafes have been helping diners quench their thirst and keep their seats for centuries: "No, don't get up. We have a carafe right here!" Now that you've poured the drinks, flip to the next slide to serve the soup.

Ladle

A ladle is a long-handed utensil with a cup-shaped bowl for conveying liquids. The word originates from the Old English hladan meaning "to load," but the suffix -le turns what once was a verb into a tool or appliance like the word handle. Alright, you've successfully poured the soup. But where is it coming from? Flip to the next slide to find out.

Tureen

This elegant word originally meant "earthenware dish" in Middle French from terrin meaning "of the earth." In this way it shares a common ancestor with terrain. Defined today as a large, deep, covered dish for serving soup, stew or other foods, tureen first made its debut in English in the 1700s and has remained a great word for "soup pot." So, you've handled the hot soup, but how do you save the table from a cup of hot cocoa? Flip to the next slide to find out.

Coaster

Though this word may be more exciting with roller in front of it, the solitary coaster is no less than thrilling when it comes to table protection. A coaster is a small dish, tray or mat made especially for placing under a glass to protect a table from moisture. The word does in fact originate from the Middle English cost meaning "to coast or glide." When coasters burst on the scene in the late 1880s, the little device was named for its resemblance to a sled, because it coasted around the table.

Cruet

Searching for something to hold the olive oil? Grab a cruet! A cruet is glass bottle or small container for holding table condiments like oil, vinegar, even salt and pepper. From the Anglo-French crue, meaning "flask," cruets can come in all shapes and sizes. But where do all these condiments go? Flip to the next slide to meet a dish that hosts sweet potatoes and green beans on millions of tables.

Casserole

The quintessential piece of Thanksgiving crockery, the casserole is a baking dish made of glass, pottery, etc., usually with a cover. The word comes from the Middle French cassa meaning "melting pan." But since 1958, the word casserole not only refers to the dish itself but to anything cooked inside it. So attempt a beet casserole, a potato casserole--a persimmon casserole? Why not! Everything tastes better when you're with the people you love.

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.