How to Cut

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recipe thursdayNo matter how many recipes you master, if your knife skills are lacking you're not going to cut it in the kitchen.

Today, take an inventory of your knives. You must have one good chef's knife (8-10"), a utility knife, a paring knife and a bread knife. More than that is a luxury. Less than that and you're cutting yourself short. Do not try to cut everything in your kitchen with a serrated steak knife, like I remember doing as a kid. Go to the best knife shop you can afford and fill the gaps.

Next, sharpen your knives! A dull knife will cut you worse than a sharp one. You use more pressure on a dull knife and it's easier to slip when you're pressing hard. The test for me it tomatoes. If you can't slice a tomato like butter, then your knife is too dull. Manually sharpening knives takes some practice; for most people, it's easier to buy a knife sharpener that holds the blade at the correct angle. Whichever way you do it, be vigilant. Don't let your knives get dull.

If you're not sure what to do with your razor sharp knives, this utterly useful illustrated essay on How to Cut will get you started, or refresh your memory. Peter Hertzmann also shares French recipes on his website, a la carte.

3 Comments

for those of us who are not so vigilant....

Kitchen secret i was taught long ago, by a Japanese boy no less! If you need to do an emergency sharpen on a knife, take a ceramic cup, turn it upside down, use the unglazed ring on the bottom to sharpen the blade. Move the knife edge in circles up and down the blade using the ceramic part. Try and pay a little attention to the angle thing that Kristen mentioned above.

I do this when the knife is too blunt to cut carrots or onions well... generally in other people's or pubic kitchens... ok, yeah, my own too...

(glad to see you back xoxox)

We received a set of knives for Christmas. I used them to cut some kangaroo and they were beautiful and sharp. But I don't use them in favour of my old blunties most of the time which are fine for cutting veggies which is what we almost always are cooking.

It's not the being cut while cutting that worries me. It's the washing up afterwards. Being so tired I have lots of times slipped a bit while washing blunties and I've only grazed myself. I don't want to have to wash the razor blades again until I'm getting okay sleep.

I am always sharpening my kitchen knives but I never seem to get it right. I think it is because they were cheap in the first place. I will invest in good knives one day - right tools for the job and all that. I love that ceramic one you have...

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