after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

disagreeing about knives

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t says:  I’m a fan of kitchen cutlery.  And so I was interested in seeing what Eater says about them in their recent “Savvy” videos:

First off, I apologize because this guy is kind of a tool … but I do applaud some of his knife choices (and some of the knife brands in the video!).  I’d have to say that in general I agree with what he has to say, but in an era where people are contemplating buying knife sets, I feel like his video might lead someone down the path for a whole “knife set” which is unnecessary.  For instance, after watching that video, I could see someone thinking “well, if I need four knives, and this set has 7, I might as well just put up with the extra 3”.  No!  Bad!  Futhermore, I disagree with one of the knife choices, so I am going to just lay it out for you the way I see it:

1)  Chef’s Knife:  Yes, it’s mandatory.  Yes, it has to be large.  Yes, it has to scare you for the first two weeks you use it.  If it doesn’t, then it’s likely not long enough (unless you’re already used to a chef’s knife of 8-10″ in length).  To give you an idea, 9-10″ knives are the norm for prepwork in professional kitchens, while 8″ knives [in some patriarchal, sexist societies] are referred to as “ladies’ knives”.  Of course, I refuse to propagate that stereotype (*stares down at his tiny-for-a-man hands*).  Anyways, the glory of the chef’s knife is versatility.  You want it to be large enough to do an occasional rock-chop (personally I don’t like rock-chopping because it destroys edges, but it’s so sexy when you see it on the Food Network, right?), push-cut, and slicing.  At the same time, it shouldn’t be SO long that you feel like you have no control over where the tip is in space (which actually is more related to your grip than knife size).  Corollary: santokus can count as chef’s knives.  While they make me sad, even I got caught up in “the three virtues” bullcrappery when they hit the market circa 2005.  I don’t use mine anymore, but it was such a pricey knife that I can’t part with it.

2)  Paring Knife:  I agree – the paring knife is essential as well.  It’s great for in-hand work, as well as occasional fruit slicing (although I’ve been known to pull out a giant 9″ knife to cut a single carrot …).  Long live the paring knife – the thinner the better.

3)  Slicing Knife?  Really?  Why?  How many of us are going to be slicing raw fish or filet roasts?  And even if you were, what is the likelihood you’d be doing that vs. slicing a loaf of bread?  a hard crusty baguette?  That’s right – forget the slicing knife – go for the bread knife.  And it doesn’t even have to be a fancy bread knife.  Under $75, all bread knives are the same (now, if you want to spend more than $75, there are some very specific superior-to-others bread knives out there).  Could you use a bread knife for the raw fish and meats as well?  Maybe, but I’d rather use a chef’s knife for those – it is one of the reasons why your chef’s knife is long to begin with, right?!

4)  Utility / “Petty” Knife: fine … if you insist that you need something to trim some meat, or just to cut a random piece of something, and you don’t want to pull out a chef’s knife, you can get one of these.  Just hide it when the company comes over so this way they can think that you, too, cut a single apple with your chef’s knife.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

30 October 2014 at 12:28pm

Posted in Happenings

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