Mar 24, 2014

The ONE Thing Every Kitchen Needs

A friend of mine recently asked, "What should I ask for my birthday for the kitchen?"  She's relatively new to the real food scene, and has borrowed a few of my appliances.  Her in-laws are coming into town and want to buy a nice gift.

There are many things that you can "make do" with or simply "do without."  Don't have a whisk?  A fork will do.  Can't afford a food processor?  Usually your blender will get the job done in small batches or use a knife until your arm falls off.  Would love a stand mixer?  The hand-held ones work pretty well - and in absence of those, a giant spoon will get 'er done.

Today as I was chopping, on the heels of attending a free knife skills class at Williams-Sonoma, I thought, I need to tell her to get a sharp knife.

A good, sharp knife is irreplaceable.  

I love mine so much I travel with it (I have a plastic cover for it).  The chef's knife on the far right in the above picture is my all-time-fav.  The brand name is Global, and is lightweight.  It won't break your wrist holding it all day.  I've had it about 12 years now.  It was a gift from my in-laws.  

Believe it or not, I remember using "the knife" for the first time.  Taking a carrot from the fridge and the knife I had been using, along with my new one, I sat the carrot on my chopping board.  First I made a cut with my old knife.  Then I cut the same carrot with my new Global.  Woah.  It went through like butter.  Easy peasy.  

Having a super sharp knife made chopping a fridge full of veggies so fun!  The sharp knife actually made it possible to do the "rocking motion" that professional chefs use when chopping a mountain of veggies.  A dull blade makes that skill virtually impossible.

When visiting other homes, most people will have a relatively sharp paring knife.  Trying to chop an onion with a small knife is like trying to unload a truck full of dirt with a spoon.  It works but takes for-ev-ah.  That's why I bring along my knife.  And when people use it they instantly break into knife envy.  I have to keep an eye on it until it's safe in my drawer at home.

The orange handled knife, above, has a ceramic blade and I've been quite impressed with how sharp it was when I bought it and continues to hold the bevel over 15 months later.  I think it was about $15 at Tuesday Morning.

Try Before You Buy
If you find yourself in the market to buy a knife, let me recommend actually holding a few in your hand.  Go to a store that sells sharp knifes, like Williams-Sonoma, and ask to put your dirty grubby little hands on them.  Even better is to ask if you could take it for a test drive.  Williams-Sonoma usually keeps veggies on hand for this purpose.  What feels awesome in my hand may not feel great in yours.  (Although I think most women prefer lighter knives, like Global.)  In addition, the shape of the blade will influence how you do the rocking/chopping motion.  So at the very least, if you are unable to actually chop something in the store, please put the knife on a cutting board and pretend to get a feel for its performance.

Well, that's the ONE thing I think every kitchen needs.  What do you say?

- Julie

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1 comment:

  1. I have two Globals and love them! 7" Santoku and 6" Cook.



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