My name is Derek. Claire has spent the better part of the year coaxing me into contributing to the Kitchen Boutique blog as a knife expert. For any of you that know Claire, even a little, you can only put her off for so long. So here I am.
This being my first public forum contribution I want to let you know what you can expect from me. I’ll discuss knives (of course), cutting techniques, styles of blades, sharpening vs honing, how to choose the right knife and length and tons more. Plus, I will endeavour to end each blog with a tip that may put a smile on your face or introduce you to something new.
There are two knives that every household, no matter the size of family, should own, a great paring knife and cook’s knife. The later of which also goes by the name chef’s knife or French knife (cause the French first designed the shape).
Paring knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A unique shape will for the most part dictate a specific use or technique. Today I would like to cover the standard 3 ½” straight blade, the most versatile of all. This knife can do so many small jobs: peel fruits and veg, trim fat off meat, score meat to insert garlic or cloves. Its small, straight-forward shape is well suited when it comes time to making the kid’s lunches or just quartering apples for snack. I would stay away from more sturdy foods like carrots or potatoes, as the blade is not long enough or rigid enough. That’s what the cook’s knife is for.
The cook’s knife comes in 14 sizes and styles (WÜSTHOF is the only knife maker that I am aware of with this kind of selection) with sufficient handle sizes to accommodate most hand sizes – even the baseball mitt guys. You know who you are. Why so many sizes? Easy! We all are built differently; from hand and finger size to wrist and arm strength to proportions of arm length to torso size. This allows anyone to find a length that is just right and comfortable. The cook’s knife is your manual food processor. It will chop, slice and julienne all fruits and vegetables. Mincing fresh herbs is too easy. Prepare steaks from your favorite tenderloin. Although cook’s knives feel heavier and quite robust, they are not meant for bones. The edges are ground steep so they cannot handle the hardness.
Knives look impressive on the wall of a store. You cannot find one that works for you by staring at it. Ask for help, put one in your hand and start the selection process by feeling your way through the assortment.
That’s it for knives today. If you’re a music fan, you’ll know how personal music is to each of us. I am not a musician but I live with it almost every waking minute. I always try to keep an open mind cause you never know what little gem you’ll discover. On that note, take a listen to Florence and the Machine, fabulous new artist out of the UK. Unique lyrics tied into a very different sound. Try the song “dog days are over”. Enjoy.
Until Next Week – Stay well