Which kitchen knife do I buy?
This post was brought about as a result of my daughter and son in law asking me for the name of a good set of knives to buy. And after pondering about it for some time -I consider it a very useful and important topic to write about.
You see - a knife should in a way be an extension of your hand, except your 'hand' has a a sharp cutting edge. As such it must be extremely comfortable to handle and should not unduely weigh your hand down, so that with minimal use, your hand gets tired. The balance of the knife in your hand must be near perfect, otherwise you are not going to get the ultimate out of your knife. So perusing the knife departments of the kitchen ware stores, or looking 'on line' one sees about 50 different knife brands, and each knife brand has as many as 130 different knives Everten
Now many of these knives are formulated for different specific circumstances, like cutting tomatoes; slicing smoked salmon; cutting fish and meat; etc., but there are also a whole range of general purpose knives such as the 'cooks knife' - Fig 1.
Fig 1 - two types of 'cooks knives' - a 'Furi' knife on top and a 'Wusthof Trident' knife on the bottom.
And I ask myself 'why is this so'. And the answer is very simple. In order to acheive the parameters mentioned above, and considering that there are so many 'grips' and so many different sized hands - that must be part if not all the reason why there are so many cooks knives. So that would mean, that if say a woman and her partner are doing equal shares of the cooking - you would, theoretically, require two different knives.
So then - which knife do you choose? And the answer to this question is quite simple. The person who is buying the knife for her/himself has to go into the kitcheneware store and actually handle the knife and see whether it fullfills all the parameters mentioned above eg: balance. So, for example, a person doing most of the cooking may find that a 'Global' knife suits them best as a cooks knife; a 'F.Dick' knife is well balanced for cutting bread; a 'Wusthof Trident' knife is best for boning out fish; etc.
So what I am getting at is that 'sets of knives' look great in a block in your kitchen, but it is quite rare for a single person to use ALL the knives in the block. Sure a 'knife block' may be cheaper to buy, but if you are cooking seriously, a range of differing brands will give you the ultimate feel when using knives.
I personally use a Furi knife as my cooks knife - Fig 2,
Fig 2 - a 'Furi' cooks knife on the top; a 'Furi' general cutting knife in the centre; and a 'Furi' vegetable knife at the bottom.
but use a Japanese branded knife for cutting sushi - Fig 3;
Fig 3 - a sushi knife.
a small 'Global' knife for cutting cores out of vegetables; a 'Wusthof Trident' knive for deboning fish; and a 'Kruger' knife for deboning meat - Fig 4;
Fig 4 - a 'Wusthof Trident' knife for cutting fish and a 'Kruger' Knife for cutting and de boning meat.
and a 'F. Dick' scalloped knife for cutting bread with - Fig 5.
Fig 5 - a 'F.Dick' scalloped knife for cutting bread.
But as I was saying before - just as there are so many cutting tasks to do - there are an equal number of different knives to do it with!
So if you are going shopping for a knife/knives - go to a kitchen store; try out the knives (perhaps more than once) and only then will you have a good idea of which knife suits you best!
And just a word on the sharpening of knives. I think that I can say that ALL knives need sharpening. A quick sharpening before each time you use a knife makes the cutting with the knife so much easier. Either you can learn how to sharpen the knife yourself using a 'steel' or a ceramic sharpener, or all good kitchen stores have a knife sharpening service. You will be very wise to avail yourself of this - it will make use of the knife so much easier.