Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Let's Talk About Knives

Cook's knife

It isn't just the professionals who need a good set of kitchen knives. If you do any cooking at all, then a decent set of knives are important.

It is better to spend a moderate amount of money on one really good knife that you will use over and over again than to spend the same amount on 10 knives plus a vegetable peeler and 15 steak knives thrown in absolutely free.

If, like me, you are a home cook this doesn't mean spending a fortune on kitchen knives. Nor does it mean having 10 different knives for any possible occasion. Most home cooks can easily deal with the majority of tasks that may arise with just 3 knives.

With proper care, these knives will serve you well for many, many years.

What Knives Does a Home Cook Need?

Most home cooks only need 3 knives.
  • A cook's knife

  • A paring knife

  • A bread knife
Of these three, only the first two are what I would call essential. The bread knife is good to have around, but not absolutely mandatory if you know you're just not going to use it.

I also recommend a good pair of kitchen scissors and a good vegetable peeler.

Don't get any other knives unless you know you will be using them often. They'll only end up gathering dust and you can put that money to better use.

The Cook's Knife

These come in sizes ranging from a 6-inch to a 10-inch blade. Get the one you feel most comfortable using. I have 2 knifes, one with a 10-inch the other with a 6-inch blade. The 10-inch is hardly ever used because it is too large for the majority of chopping I need to do. I keep it around because it is handy for cutting large melons.

Victorinox Swiss Army 8-Inch Fibrox Straight Edge Chef's Knife

You cook's knife will get more use than any other knife in your kitchen, so get the best that you can find. That doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive but do invest in one that is well made. You want a knife that fits comfortably in your hand. The Victorinox knife has a good blade and a comfortable, non-slip handle. Both very important when you are chopping.

The Paring Knife

After a cook's knife, I use a paring knife most often. This works equally well for peeling fruit as it does for chopping a chilli pepper and other small vegetables. This paring knife fits easily in my hand. It is perfect for paring fruits and vegetables, and for doing any small, close cutting.

Victorinox Swiss Army 3-1/4-Inch Fibrox Straight Edge Paring Knife, Black

The Bread Knife

This knife can actually be used for several different jobs. The serrated edge makes it useful for slicing both bread and meats, as well as tomatoes and other thin-skinned produce.

Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife, Black Fibrox Handle

For more knives, check out my Amazon Knife Shop linked to at the bottom of this page.

Keeping Knives Sharp

Follow these simple tips and you will keep your knives in good working order for years.
  • Sharpen your knives before each use. Nothing is more dangerous in a kitchen than a dull knife. Invest in a good knife sharpener and use it often. 
  • Do not let your knives roam free in a drawer. Besides dulling the blades, you have a really good chance of slicing a finger open while digging around for the tin opener.
  • Clean the knives immediately after using. Don't drop them into the bottom of the sink either. Again, you run a good risk of slicing your finger open by doing this.