after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

The Truth … about Kitchen Knives

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t says: I’ve done some spring cleaning/updating/editing of our kitchen knives page and realized that some of the info deserves to be put in one of our “The Truth” posts …  So get ready to have some knowledge dropped on you …  Welcome to my five truths (or maybe they’re like commandments?) of owning kitchen cutlery.

I) All knives need sharpening. No matter what knife you buy, it will eventually need to be re-sharpened.  It is an unrealistic expectation to believe that a knife will be sharp forever – no matter how much you pay for it, no matter how much the infomercial or Williams Sonoma salesperson swears by it, and no matter how many corkscrew-pennies your Cutco rep is making for you …  Just like every car in the world has wear-and-tear as you use it – every knife will get dull.  What can you do about it?  Well, I mention two useless and three useful things you can do on the knife shopping page

2)  “Stainless” knives are not “stain-free” knives. Knives “stain less” if the alloy of the blade contains above a certain amount of chromium.  Who cares?  You might, because a “stainless” knife is merely stain-resistant – not stain-proof!  Heck – they may even rust – especially if you’re cutting acidic foods like tomatoes, lemons, and onions.  So leaving your knives around with water and food particles on them until the end of your meal is not the greatest idea.  And waiting until the next day to clean your knife  is an unforgivable travesty.

3)  [Almost] Never store knives in a drawer. Unless you have edge-guards on your knives (of which the best are like this, while those like this kind of suck), don’t put them in a drawer where they can slide around and smack into each other – that’ll ruin their cutting edges.  Plus, who wants to stick their hand into a drawer of sharp things like knives?  You wouldn’t stick your hand in a sharps box (i.e. that thing they put used needles in) at the hospital, would you?  Don’t do it at home, either.

4)  Never put knives in the dishwasher … unless you hate them.  Washing your knives via dishwasher potentially lets them clang against other things (ruining their edges) and promotes spot/rust formation (and dramatically warps the handles on some knives).  For the love of all that is holy and good: wash them by hand, dry them by hand.

5)  Use a proper cutting board. Glass or ceramic cutting boards are awful on all knives.  And that sound they make as your knife blade strikes the surface makes me cringe every time.  Plastic boards are also horrendous for knives – I don’t care how many people justify their use with, “well, they’re more sanitary – you can stick them in the dishwasher!” (I have a better solution than plastic – keep reading).  Bamboo is gaining popularity, but those flat-grain bamboo boards (i.e. the ones that look like they’re made of long strips of bamboo) are very hard and brutal on knife edges.  And don’t get me started on those silly roll-up cutting “mats” or those times I’ve seen Real Housewives cutting directly on their fancy granite countertops …  ugh.  So what should someone use?  Wood.  That’s right – old school.  It worked for your mom and your mom’s mom and your mom’s mom’s mom (or your dads – I don’t want to be sexist).  And if you really love your knives, use end-grain boards – the fibers of the wood will microscopically split as you slice down, absorbing some of the impact, and slowing down how fast you dull your knives.  For those who are squeamish about wooden cutting boards and food safety (e.g. bacterial cross-contamination), it’s advisable to have a separate cutting board for meat … or if you’re really really squeamish, then go for Sani-tuff boards, which are super-safe on knife edges (probably even better than wood!) and super-sanitary.  Now if only they came in cool colors …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

4 March 2011 at 12:27am

Posted in The Truth

Tagged with ,

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