I have this thing about kitchen knives. It began some years ago with a Christmas gift from No. 1 son M and family—a set of Henckel Knives and a hardwood block for storing the knives. Certainly sufficient for my culinary needs, which up until that Christmas had consisted of hand-me-downs and a paring knife or two. My new set included a variety of knives—chef’s, utility, boning, serrated, and paring. They were the basic essentials of any home kitchen, sharp enough that slicing, dicing, and carving became more of a joy than a chore.
Over the ensuing years my collection has grown to include specific knives for the more complicated tasks of butchering, carving, separating, and removing. Some knives only get used on certain occasions. The 14-inch blade, for example, is meant for carving but I find it perfect for scoring and cutting a half-sheet cake. The 10-inch scalloped edge blade slices meat so thin it makes me look like I’ve been carving all my life. Mustn’t forget the two Santoku Japanese knives (one with a ceramic blade that M gave me), also great for slicing and dicing.
And then there’s my smallest knife, a curved bird’s eye peak I use for paring fruits and veggies. That is, when I’m not using one of the paring knives supplied by my catering friend E, so sharp I’ve cut myself more than once without know it. Just thinking about that horror story waiting to be written creeps me out.
Most of my knives have blades made of high carbon stainless steel although some of the older blades are carbon steel. Those hold their sharp edge longer but tend to stain and rust if not wiped clean and oiled before putting away. As for any of the handles, I keep those lubricated too, with a few drops of mineral or canola oil.
Knives wind up in my collection in a variety of ways. Some as gifts, others I catch on sale in the kitchen section of discount stores. The more unusual knives came from my catering friend who inherited a vast assortment from the estate of retired restaurant chef I’d gotten to know. I think he’d be pleased that his knives are still being put to good use.
Regardless of their beginnings or how I acquired them, my knives get treated with the utmost respect. I keep them clean and I keep them sharpened. So sharp I don’t bother using the serrated blades on tomatoes. My thanks to the skilled butchers at my local supermarket that provides a sharpening service at no cost to its customers. Now that’s a deal if ever there was!
Over the years my knives have served me well because I NEVER put them in the dishwasher. Never.
So, whether you’re a serious cook or like me, an okay cook, be good to yourself and invest in a few good knives. You won’t be sorry, I promise.
What about you? Any collections you obsess over?