A trivet is a kitchen gadget that’s used to keep the heat raised above the surface of a table and prevent heat damage or burns.
The device is flat and horizontal, and you can set a pan, a serving dish, a bowl, or any suitable container of hot food. The trivet is raised from the table with three legs.
You might not have heard of the trivet, but they’re very common in kitchens, and it’s likely that there’s at least one in your own kitchen and you just didn’t realize.
So, where did the concept of trivets come from, and what does a trivet tend to look like? The following article will break down all you might need to know about this handy kitchen gadget.
The History of the Trivet
You’ve probably guessed that the ‘tri-part of the name refers to the three legs (or in some cases three knobs) on the bottom of the trivet. The word, which comes from the Latin word ‘tripes’, literally translates to ‘tripod’.
The gadget originated from 19th-century open hearth cooking; back then, some trivets had four legs to provide them more stability over the open fire.
The first trivets also had a long handle made of metal that was used to put food in the fire and then remove it from the oven.
Different Uses for the Trivet
There are a number of different uses for the trivet, but at its core, the device’s purpose is to prevent heat damage or burning. Here are the most common uses for the trivet.
If you’re baking something in your instant pot (or your pressure cooker), you can place the trivet inside the pot and it will act as a baking stand, on which you can place your baking pan on.
This will mean that whatever you’re baking won’t burn at the bottom.
All you need to do to use your trivet with an instant pot is to fill the pot with water and then place the trivet right in the middle. Then place your bowl of whatever you’re baking inside the pot and seal it with the lid.
You can also use a trivet for boiling eggs in an instant pot. You can’t place eggs directly into the water-filled pot because it’ll be too hot for them and they’ll burn.
A trivet will allow the eggs to be in the water but with enough freedom of movement to ensure that they’re boiled correctly, and not burned.
Steaming vegetables has to be done delicately because it can be easy to accidentally overheat them. Just like with eggs, you can’t place vegetables directly into your instant pot, because the temperature will be far too high.
The solution to this is placing your trivet inside the pot, which will help your vegetables to cook evenly.
There are a number of other foods that’ll be easier to cook with a trivet, including cakes and cheesecakes, lasagna and casseroles, meats, and delicate foods like fish.
One useful way to use the trivet is for when you’re trying to cook two separate dishes, or two different elements for one meal, simultaneously.
A trivet will let you cook, for example, a meat sauce at the bottom of your pot, while you also cook rice at the top of the pot.
Alternatively, maybe you’re cooking potatoes and chicken; with a trivet, you can have the potatoes boiling in salted water or broth at the bottom of your pot, while at the top of the pot you’re cooking your chicken.
It’s a very handy way to cut down on cooking time.
What Does a Trivet Look Like?
Trivets come in many different shapes and sizes; while they all serve the same purpose, they can really vary in appearance. The most common trivet, though, is the silver one.
One producer of fine silver trivets, Wilton Armetale, has been making kitchen gadgets since 1892. These trivets not only protect your table and linens from heat damage, but they’re also aesthetically pleasing.
Another common type of trivet is the cast iron trivet. This kind of trivet is a lot taller than the aforementioned fine silver trivets, with long legs to raise it up from the table.
You won’t always need that extra height when you’re cooking (it’s possible you’ll never need it), but cast iron trivets still have appeal, particularly for the visual aspect.
Most metal trivets have handles and will come with the majority of instant pots. Some trivets don’t have any handles and are made from silicone rather than metal.
You can also get tall trivets that don’t have handles, flat wire round trivets, and egg steamer racks.
What are Trivets Made From?
Trivets can be made from a number of materials. While originally they were all made with cast iron or other heavy metals, there are now trivets available that are made from cork, wood, or silicone.
Some people prefer these kinds of trivets because they lend their kitchen a more natural look. They also tend to be a lot lighter than, say, cast iron trivets, while still serving the same purpose.
Silicone trivets are increasingly popular, for a number of reasons; they’re resistant to heat, safe for dishwasher use, light, resilient, and they tend to be affordable. They usually have raised designs rather than legs to prop them up.
A trivet is a kitchen gadget, traditionally with three legs, that can be placed on a table to prevent heat damage or burning.
They can also be used in instant pots or pressure cookers, to more effectively cook certain foods or to cook more than one element of a meal at the same time.
They tend to be made of metal, but more often we’ve been seeing trivets made from wood, cork, or silicone. Heat-proof silicone trivets in particular are increasing in popularity.