Monday, April 7, 2008

The Value of a Good Knife

You know, it’s been said that knives are the most important tools in the kitchen…you use them more than you use your cookware or your range.

And I have to tell you…after 30 years of homemaking (which covers countless hours of peeling, cutting, chopping, mincing and slicing), these words are true.

When I was a young wife, I “fell prey” to a door-to-door salesman (actually my best friend gave him my name) and bought a couple sets of knives, some cooking utensils and a professional sharpening steel. I don’t remember how much it all cost, but I do remember having a payment plan.

At the time, I didn’t know “Kitchen Knives 101,” nor did I realize how valuable this purchase would turn out to be. You don't need to take out a loan to get a good knife or a good set, but I am grateful that I have these knives. So, without further ado, let me tell you why.

I think the first time I realized how fortunate I was to have a good set of knives was when I was helping a good friend prepare for a graduation open house. My job was to cut carrots…omigosh…after spending a couple of hours and getting very sore hands, I took the carrots home to cut them with my wonderful knives! To this day, I am grateful for a good set of knives. It just makes cooking prep so much easier and enjoyable. Not to mention time-saving.

I want to encourage any young wives (or even more experienced ladies) to purchase a good set of knives. Research and learn how to make a good choice and buy one good set that will last your lifetime.

My knives are Arrowhead and a bit expensive…but with some things, you get what you pay for. They came with a 50 year warranty, and I have never needed it. After 30 years, they are as strong and sturdy as they were in 1978. (Oh dear, am I that old??)

In fact, some have increased in value. I have this set of three: It is being marketed as “vintage” and “rare” from the ‘70’s and is priced at $399!! I certainly didn’t pay that much, but I still use them all the time.

I also bought this set of five knives:
The set includes (from the bottom of the photo up) a Ham and Bread Knife, French Chef’s knife, Butcher knife, Sandwich knife and Paring knife. I use every one of them at least once a week, except the Butcher knife. I use that less often than the rest. And the Chef's (French Cook) knife is used every day...sometimes several times a day. These are the types of knives I would recommend.

If you only want or can have one good knife, it would be the Chef’s knife. The Chef’s knife is the one knife that is long enough to carve and slice with, and heavy enough to cut up poultry. You can peel an onion; slice carrots and celery; cut just about anything; chop onions, herbs and other vegetables; mince garlic and more….and do it all with ease.

The next kitchen knife in importance, in my opinion, would be a good paring knife. Sometimes you just need a smaller, easy-to-handle knife for prepping the finer ingredients that go into a dish. After that would be a long thin-bladed knife that you can slice or carve with, sort of a much larger steak knife.

Please spend a few minutes learning how to safely use knives. It is well worth the time to learn simple safety measures. And, it’s important to remember that “a sharp knife is a safe knife.” A dull knife can hurt you badly.

It is also best to know how to choose a quality knife. All expensive ones are not created equal. You want to get what you pay for.

Here is a terrific short video that covers how to choose a good chef’s knife, how to safely use it and how to sharpen your prized possession!

One more thing…a good electric carving knife makes slicing turkey, ham and more so easy and enjoyable! Another great kitchen tool I’ve had for thirty years. Believe it or not, it was a bridal shower gift…what a blessing! And blessings to you!

No comments: