Tranchier Style | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Cutting boards today are party vessels to serve cheeses and other dry finger food, or kitchen utility items to chop, mince and slice food for cooking. Some new style cutting boards are designed to use as plates, with a cut out space for holding a wine glass on one side and place food on the flat area. This is a convenient way to hold food while shaking hands with people at networking events. Those of us who are habitué at these gatherings know how difficult it is to eat, hold a wine glass and shake hands all at the same time. (Click on each photo to view it larger).

Tranchier was the name for cutting boards in the Medieval era, from Old French tranchier “to cut” and it was far from being a common wooden board. A trencher was a type of flat round bread used as a plate, upon which the food could be placed to eat. At the end of the meal, the trencher was given to the poor or dogs. Later, around the 1500s the trencher became a circular or square and completely flat wood plate, made of natural beech or sycamore, without the lip or raised edge of the plates we know today. A circular indentation in the center of the trencher would catch sauces or juices and in one corner, another circular depression contained salt. Diners filled up their trenchers with food from the larger charger plates and larger trenchers placed in the center of the table.

(BLW_Trencher_David-Jacobson – Wikimedia)

Forks didn’t exist yet, the only way to eat was to cut food in bite-size with the knife and eat it from the tip of the knife. In the upper crust, gallant men cut the food for the woman on his right side and fed her from the knife. However, eating with hands was a normal custom even for the upper class. Those trenchers of the 1500s are the cheeseboards of today and in some cases, we can also use them as decorative items under a plate set, as I saw it done at one of the World Market stores.

Don’t really understand the function of a cutting board under a stack of plates, other than wanting to sell it as part of a whole table arrangement. However, it looks pretty, different and it caught my eyes. For a coastal table setting, it picks up a perfect rusticity. If you have a special coastal table setting, please share it here.

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual, as much as she likes to restyle people’s images. She needs your story to design your dream. Check out her books on


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