When I started my career, I had a particular knife for every little task in the kitchen. You probably have the drawer or knife block full yourself. I don’t know if I’ve become lazy or just more experienced as a cook. But, after carrying all these knives with me for years and realizing that I just didn’t use them, I needed to make a change. So I got rid of them all, including the big oversized chef’s knife, and purchased a utility chef’s knife instead. When it was all said and done, I ended up with two knives and a peeler — that’s it.
Did you just almost fall off your chair, thinking about all the other cool kitchen gadgets that you love and can’t do without? Quite frankly, I think we have gone too far with all of these cooking instruments. The marketplace has rammed them down our throats for over a decade now, saying that we “need” a different tool for every task. Come on….really? Now we are at a point where our kitchen drawers are filled with kitchen gadgets that we have purchased from Pampered Chef parties and received as stocking stuffers from Christmas. Yes, these are fun to buy and receive, but do we ever USE them? The answer is no. For example — this is the best one I’ve found yet — the other day, I came across a banana slicer at my local grocery store. Have we really gotten to the point where we can’t even slice our own bananas anymore? Trust me, it pains me to even put the photo up on my blog, but I hope doing so was worth the laughter and the head shaking.. Please don’t message me to find out where you can get one of these.
If you can learn to prepare food by only using these two knives in the kitchen, I guarantee you will not only become a better cook, but you will also enjoy the cooking experience more. Don’t feel intimidated — it’s not as difficult as it sounds. I will teach you with upcoming video tutorials, etc.
These two knives and vegetable peeler will handle 90 percent of the things you do in the kitchen. Sure, there are exceptions. For example, I have a Serrated Bread Knife and a Microplane Zester/Grater. These are extremely helpful, but we only use them 10 percent of the time. I will talk more about those items in a future post.
So what do I use? I do most of my cutting with the chef’s knife pictured above. It’s 7 inches and on the lighter side. I can cut vegetables, steak or even skin a whole fish with it. What’s important is that I am religious about keeping it sharp. Is that hard to do? No, not at all! I will sharpen it maybe once a year. You can even take it to a knife shop so they’ll do it for you. The key is to run it on a hand-held “steel” everyday before you start using it. This will keep the sharp edge for you. There is a misconception that a hand-held steel “sharpens” your knife. This could not be farther from the truth. Think of it this way: After continued use, metal micro burs will start to come away from the clean edge of your knife, resulting in some dullness. We can’t stop this no matter what. But if we use a hand-held steel everyday to knock down those metal micro burs, your knife will stay sharper for a longer period of time. When you get your knife “sharpened,” you are actually having metal removed. We want to do that as little as possible, especially if this is your favorite knife.
I treat my pairing knife a little differently. I love a serrated, sharp pairing knife, which is sharper than a straight edge knife. A pairing knife has got teeth, so of course it’s sharper. The problem with serrated knifes is that they are very difficult to sharpen. So I purchase a cheap plastic handled pairing knife, and once it becomes dull, I will throw it out and start with a new one. You should do this maybe every six months — or once a year for the home cook. The knife maybe costs $10 at most.
I’m the same way with my peeler. Over the years, I have tried every peeler out there. But how many different ways are there to peel a vegetable, really? All I know is that I always go back to this cheap, simple $3 peeler and just throw it out when it gets dull.
There you have it: the three items you absolutely NEED to cook. Let’s learn to use our knives better, rather than relying on these silly kitchen gadgets. Just don’t forget to smile when Aunt Milly gives you the banana slicer next year for Christmas!
I always welcome comments or questions.
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