Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An ode to a knife

Let me be frank with you all. I am wrong quite often. If you observe me being wrong, point it out and gently guide me to common sense that I stray away from. I may not thank you then, but I will certainly do it later!

A case in point is for every wannabe cook or chef I know who has ever said a word about a good quality knife, and given me quality advice about getting such. I nodded like I was paying attention and I humored everybody who said that "you really should pay for a quality knife". Inwardly, I scoffed. What do I need a $100 knife for that isn't stainless, isn't machine-washable, and requires sharpening on occasion? Why, I paid $20 for this entire SET of fine knives (lol) at Target and it cuts everything I need cutting! Sure, I may have to saw on the occasional bit of difficult meat, but I get it cut, don't I?

Well we don't have to think about it too hard, I WAS AN IDIOT! I realized I was an idiot the moment a good friend of my wife's gave us a really nice knife of our own:

I looked at the Isbjörn knife, thought it was too pretty for everyday kitchen duty, and wondered how often it would be used before it was put aside in favor of my workhorses. Well, needless to say that it took all of one day of cooking for me to change my tune. I found to my amazement that I could actually chop onions like they do on TV, rather than gritting my teeth and sort of torquing down on my knife, as the back & forth motion gave me a lopsided cut. Tomato slices became thin and gorgeous, and I wasn't smooshing half the guts out on my cutting board like I used to do with the econo line. If that didn't tell me all I needed to know, I found it out with chicken breasts, when I was able to zip the cleanest lines in raw meat that I'd ever seen. It was like cutting tofu or semi-soft cheese. The old back & forth action? Forget it. One pass and it's done. The straw that broke the camel's back was actually breaking the shallow tang on one of my piece-of-crap econo knives when cutting a sliver of Swiss Grüyere! What garbage is that?

I may keep my bread knife from that set, maybe. I will upgrade to steak knives that are actually nice, I know for certain. The rest? They're yours if you want them, but caveat emptor. I've discovered monogamy in knife form, and I'm forever a changed man. So let me give a lesson to a few of you out there, and yeah I know you may ignore it as I once did:


It makes the kitchen a vastly more fun place than you realize :)

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