Anne Clarke asked:

Kitchen knives can be the most utilized utensil in the kitchen. Just one high quality chef knife can make food preparation so much faster and more pleasurable. Brand names such as Wusthof and Henckels display German craftsmanship and reliability that have become American favorites as well as in other countries.

Before you decide which brand of kitchen knives to buy, learn a bit about the different kinds that are available.

For most people, there are very few things known about the differences between kitchen knives. Knowing before you shop what you need and which materials will best suit your needs will ensure you find the best buy.

Basically, there are two main schools of thought among kitchen knife makers: known simply as Eastern and Western.

Eastern style knives are those made from a harder steel. They are significantly thinner. Japanese steak knives are an excellent example of this style of utensils. Thanks to the thinness of these knives, they weigh less and the angles are more acute.

This is advantageous to many people because it means that these knives will hold an edge for a longer period of time. They will also be sharper, however they definitely require more maintenance. These types of knives are wonderful when you are cutting and you need to be accurate. This means that if you are doing something like making sushi or if you need to make any kinds of decorative cuts, these knives might be best.

On the other hand are Western knives. These utensils are different in that they are made from a softer kind of steel. These are usually a good deal easier to maintain than the Eastern knives. They are also thicker and have more obtuse angles. These knives may be a little less sharp, but they are more sturdy. Western style knives, for example, are good to use for chopping.

There are other types of knives, but they traditionally fall into subsets of these two main hardnesses of steel. The Japanese are also known to make knives that have a chisel grind and are made from sandwiched steels. In these steels, there is a hard steel for edge retention and a soft steel or iron to improve the toughness of the knife.

Perhaps the names Yanagi, Deba, and Usuba are familiar. These are all types of blades on may of the Eastern style knives. These kinds of knives require a good deal of maintenance, but are also known to cut very well. These are good knives to use for Eastern-style cooking.

You may have a choice to make before you buy knives. If you are on a budget, consider the cuisine you cook most often. If you will be doing a lot of cutting of thin slices or other kinds of decorative slicing, then perhaps Eastern knives are best for you.

On the other hand, if you are more interested in cutting quickly and not needing to constantly maintain the knives you purchase, perhaps it would be best to look for Western-style knives.

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Filed under: Kitchen Knives

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