Kitchen Cutlery, Part 1.

I’m going to be as straightforward as possible.  This post may not be my most riveting post.  I know, I know, how lame.  Some things eventually need to be written about that involve cooking, but they are not always the most exciting.  And, no pictures of food this time.  Maybe.

As the title of this one suggests, I will be mentioning something about cutlery.  Furthermore, you may also catch that I plan on doing this semi-regularly or semi-randomly until the topic is done.  I’ll space it out though, because I have some really great ideas coming up, and I think you’re going to like it!

Anyway, enough stalling.  Let’s talk about cutlery.  Actually, I’ll talk about cutlery, you will just have to read it.  That’s the way these things work.  There are many tools a cook can use when it comes to dispatching whatever it is he/she needs to dispatch.  Luckily, throughout the centuries of cooking, different styles of knives and gadgets have been created to optimize the cutting experience.  Having a loose understanding of the main types of knives, and how to pick a quality one, and more importantly:  knowing which job it performs, is a key step in harnessing your inner chef.  If nothing else, it may just help prevent cutting your fingers so many times.  I mean, let’s face it, why would you hammer a nail with a screwdriver when you can have a hammer?  It makes sense, just trust me on that one.

So the knife I want to talk about today is the knife that I think every person that cooks should have.  The chef’s knife.  They come in many sizes, colors, materials and qualities.  Mine looks like this:

That’s my 12-inch chef’s knife by Calphalon.  It is a quality knife and it has never let me down.  It has a very nice heft and is very comfortable in my hands, which is important.  It is very sharp, which is just as important.  They also make smaller sizes for women…or men with smaller hands.  I absolutely adore this knife, but it has its’ own uses and should stick to those uses.  Those jobs are many, and I must suggest that if you are willing to spend semi-big bucks on a good quality knife, the chef’s knife is where you should start.

First off, due to the size of this knife, it is primarily used to chop, dice and mince any manner of vegetation or fruits.  Anytime I need to mince an onion, I grab this knife.  Slice an apple?  This knife.  Chop a jalapeno?  This knife.  The weight of the blade really allows me to have a great degree of control over the knife and tell it where to go on my chopping board.  And let’s be serious for a second:  having control over your knife is an extremely important fact because, I don’t know about you, but I do not want finger in my salsa.

Unfortunately, it’s benefit can also be it’s detriment.  You see, the heft of the blade doesn’t make it too handy when you’re trying to do more intricate tasks, like butchering a chicken, slicing a roast, or peeling an apple.  Sure, it can be used for these purposes, but your success level will be low, and your anger level will be high.  Trust me:  I’ve tried to carve a roast using my chef’s knife and ended up making more of a mess than anything.

Tang.  Yes, it was the drink the astronauts brought to the moon, but it is also a term used in knife (and sword) nomenclature.  This also happens to be a tell-tale sign of the actual quality of the knife in question.  Good quality knives (such as mine) are what’s called “full tang,” meaning that the metal from the blade stretches all the way to the bottom of the handle (pommel).  If you look on the top of the handle, you can see the metal band that goes all the way down, and that’s the metal from the blade showing through.  Super-cheap knives are basically no-tang.  I’m not sure if that’s an actual term, but I used it and I think it gets the point across.  Basically, the blade is attached to the handle at the top (hilt) and does not stretch down to the bottom.  These knives are insanely light, and are made of inferior metals.  While I do have several of these type knives in my drawer, I do not use them for any serious amount of chopping that I have to do.  I would end up putting more work into what needs to get done.

I think this is where I want to stop for now.  If there’s anything else you would like to know about the wonders of the chef’s knife, you know how to get in contact with me.  There are lots of different types of knives, serving different purposes, and I promise I will get to the major ones and my hope is that I can educate my readers into making the right knife-buying decision.  Knives can get to be quite expensive, and generally speaking, that price often dictates into quality.  Until next time…

Stay positive, love your knives, and play with your food 🙂

About imasamurai

I am the owner of . A recent culinary graduate from Le Cordon Bleu just trying to make it to the next meal. I may not always do things the easy way, but I certainly do things the tasty way!
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2 Responses to Kitchen Cutlery, Part 1.

  1. Holly says:

    I wonder… Is an acceptable use for a chef’s knife prying apart frozen sausage patties? Lol

  2. Michael B. says:

    Great information on the knife. I, for one, would like to see a post on cutting boards such as quality and care. I saw a television program that when some cutting boards are well used and abused, you can restore them by sanding the board down with the grain and then using some linseed oil to bring back the color of the wood. What was not mentioned was how do you use the cutting board once the oil is applied? Surely one does not want linseed oil mixed with their food. Any comments would be welcome.

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