Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lindaraxa's Tidbits...Kitchen Knives

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When I first started this blog, my brother suggested I write an article about knives, particularly those that are essential in everyone's  kitchen.  Of course I forgot all about it but David Leibowitz has written a great one which appeared on his blog about four months ago.  Since I know a lot of my readers might not have knowledge of his blog,  I am giving you the link and strongly suggest you check it out.  It is everything you need to know and more.


It never amazes me to see all the unnecessary gadgets people keep in their kitchens;  but ask for a knife and you are in for a big surprise.  Usually they will open a drawer and there amongst all the cooking spoons, graters etc, you will find a couple of dull knives.   Amazing.

If you don't have good sharp knives in your kitchen, you can't possibly be serious about cooking.  It is the one thing you shouldn't even think of skimping on.  Spend the money on good quality knives and sharpeners and cooking will be a breeze.  Good chefs bring their own knives when they are on the road, that's how important they are.

My favorite knives:

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Cuisine 10-Piece Knife Block Set

Multicolored paring knives
You do not need to spend a fortune on your knives.  Calphalon, for example has a very good line of knives, fairly priced and quite attractive.  I gave my daughter a set a few years ago and they are still in great shape. I consider them as good as my Henckels, hardly notice much difference at all.

 If you don't have a Santoku knife, you don't know what you are missing.  I honestly don't know what I would do or how I got along all these years without one.  It is the one knife I use every day for chopping vegetables, especially onions, celery and carrots as well as herbs, and for mashing garlic.  It will even slice for you.  Indispensable.  If you can only buy one good knife make it this one, whether its Calphalon or Henckle or any other good brand that is on sale.

Calphalon 7 inch Santoku knife

The second knife I use the most is the serrated bread knife, not only for bread but to slice tomatoes when they are very mushy.  What I really need is a serrated utility knife but I keep forgetting to get one!

Next come the pairing knives, the slicing knife and the scissors, although I have a separate pair to cut poultry.  I don't use the butcher knife as much, but it is essential if you need to cut beef as in shish kabobs, or trim fat off.  A boning knife is also useful, although not absolutely necessary.

As for steak knives, never get serrated ones, they tear on the meat.  My favorite, of course are the Laguiole, made in France but there are many good brands around. Just not serrated!

Laguiole steak knives

Two simple rules to remember:

Never put your knives in the dishwasher.  Wash them by hand, dry them and place them back in the wood block.  If you must place them in a drawer, place them on  a plastic sheath before you put them away.

If you have marble or granite counter tops, never ever cut on them. The most common cause of wear of the cutting edge of a knife is due to contact with the cutting board surface. Boards made of glass, ceramic, marble etc are completely useless, they damage the cutting edge in the first cut. Wooden and plastic boards are better and have a much lower dulling effect.

Check out the Williams-Sonoma website for more information and check out their sale on kitchen knives.  Some are half price.


  1. Great post, m'dear. I agree that knives are often an under-appreciated and oft neglected tool in many kitchens. Critical to the joy of using ones, whether expensive or not, is to keep them good and sharp. Dull ones are intolerable! I have an excellent industrial-grade electric sharpener, which makes mine lethally sharp when employed. I love it.

  2. My favorite at the moment knife is the Shun Classic 6½" Hollow-Edge Nakiri. It's like a santuko with a flat edge like a cleaver. The Shun offset bread knife is a wonder as well. Hand washing these beauties is a requirement. Also, don't forget to scrub the handles well. A chef told me that's a prime place for bacteria to grow and be passed on!

  3. HBD

    I'm drooling...must put that one on my Xmas list. thanks! and you are so right about the handles...

  4. HBD

    I'm drooling...must put that one on my Xmas list. thanks! and you are so right about the handles...


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