Ever heard the expression "not the sharpest knife in the drawer" when describing someone who's a little dim? That's what I feel like when I'm in the kitchen cooking and can't figure out why I can't cut an even slice of bread. Or when my knife slips off the onion (and narrowly misses my finger) rather than dicing the veggie. Or when cutting an apple requires me to put all my weight on the knife while bearing down. "Oh, right! I haven't sharpened my knives in a while," I say to myself as the dawning light causes me to remember.
There is really nothing like a sharp knife to make work in the kitchen easier. They say you are more apt to cut yourself with a dull knife than a sharp one and I totally agree. Why make your work harder (or more dangerous) than it needs to be? Stop and take time to put a clean, sharp edge on those knives.
When hubby and I were first married, he insisted that the only way to have really sharp, well-maintained knives was to sharpen them with a whetstone. Because I could never get the knack of using said whetstone, he happily volunteered to become the Official Knife Sharpener of the family.
Well, drat and dang, it quickly became a big pain in the patoot to be knee-deep into meal preparation only to decide I needed a knife sharpened. I'd have to drop everything, go seek him out and ask if he had time to grab his trusty whetstone and sharpen a knife for me. Besides all that (and you don't need to tell him I shared this), he never really got the knives that sharp.
So taking the bull by the horns, about 30-some years ago I purchased an electric knife sharpener. I got a Presto Eversharp Electric Knife Sharpener and it's one of the best purchases I ever made and I still use it to this day to sharpen my knives.
I've had the same basic five knives in my kitchen for way too many years to count.
Although I have a serrated bread knife (which, sad to say, cannot be sharpened with my electric knife sharpener), it's my large chef's knife I always use to slice bread.
It seems I have more control of it and can consistently make uniform slices of bread with no trouble. However, if anyone else is in my kitchen and needs to slice bread, they inevitably grab the serrated "bread" knife.
Above are the other three knives I use constantly. The top one is a 6" small chef's knife I grab more than any other one. I've had people ask me why I have such a small chef's knife. It fits my hand and I can control it better than the traditional longer chef's knife. When we owned the restaurant, I bought an identical one for the kitchen there but don't think anyone ever used it but me.
The middle knife is kind of all-purpose with a 5" blade, and the small one is a good paring knife. I use these five knives over and over and don't feel a need or desire for anything more. As seldom as I use the serrated bread knife, I could probably get along without it although I'm sure I'd get grief from anyone else trying to slice bread in my kitchen and not finding a "real" bread knife.
I suspect a cook's knives are a very personal thing and we all probably have our favorites because of our own needs, habits and quirks. But bottom line, a sharp knife makes kitchen work easier and it's worth regularly taking the time to make sure yours stay that way regardless of what method you use to that end.
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