Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Knives Out!

People ask me questions… I try to answer.
Q; I need some knives. What should I buy?
A: Well that depends on what you need them for, how much you’re willing to spend, and how good you are at sharpening the resulting purchase.
I am a big fan of Masahiro knives from Japan. That’s the chef’s knife that I have. Carbon steel tends to be sharper than stainless style knives but they are finicky to take care of because they rust easily and transpose flavor. So unless you have the time to raise a knife like a member of your family then you should get a stain resistant version made from something like Molybdenum Vanadium Steel
Masahiro 9.5 inch chef's knife. from JB Prince

 I also like a really great paring knife, a cheap paring knife and a really sharp bread knife.
For the bread knife, the one pictured is a Victorinox with a molded handle. You can learn how to sharpen a bread knife but I tend to just buy a new one every six months or so but then again I cut a lot more bread than the average home cook. 
Victorinox bread knife. The knife that cuts through anything.
So for a great paring knife I have a handmade Misono. This knife works wonders for small butchery to vegetable work to whittling, should you have a twig and time on your hands.  Expensive but this one will last a lifetime. I use it all the time. 
Masahiro Paring Knife 
Then we have a number of Nogent paring knives at home. They rock. Thin blade, wood handle, very well balanced for about $18 bucks. So they aren't cheap cheap, let's just call them inexpensive for what they are. I love them and they look pretty.
Nogent Paring Knife... easy to sharpen little French beauty
Alas the most important thing is to have a really sharp knife, because at the end of the day I would much rather cut myself with a sharp knife than a dull knife. I know that seems counter intuitive but think about it. So get a nice flat water stone, like 1000 grit or so and then have a steel handy for simple honing. Be that cook who always has a sharp knife handy and you will be more prepared than most for the cooking.
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