High Quality Knives Are the Foundation of the Kitchen

Steve Dolan asked:

A good set of knives is the foundation for any serious kitchen. It is simply not possible to be a serious cook, to produce superior meals that will impress and delight your friends, without a set of kitchen knives that work with you, not against you. If you use ill-suited knives, or just poor quality knives, you are only making things harder for you in the kitchen. If you are an aspiring cook, or an accomplished cook who is just simply tired of making things more difficult than they need to be, this article will help you put together a set of quality kitchen knives.

Your First Kitchen Knives: The Basics

The single most important knife in your kitchen, and the starting point for any collection, is the Chef’s knife, sometimes known as the Cook’s knife. As the name suggests, this is your general all-purpose knife, able to do everything from mincing to chopping to slicing and to dicing. The Chef’s knife has a gently slopping blade and is usually around 8 inches long. The next knife you should invest in is the little brother to the Chef’s knife, the paring knife. The paring knife is basically just a smaller version of the Chef’s knife. The paring knife is designed for more detailed or intricate jobs than the Chef’s knife. A paring knife usually measures around 4 inches long or shorter. The third knife you should purchase to complete your basic set of kitchen knives is a bread knife. The bread knife should ideally be about the same size as your Chef’s knife, but instead of a straight blade, the bread knife will have a serrated edge. A knife with a serrated edge resembles a saw blade, with the blade having a series of u-shaped cuts into it. The bread knife is obviously great for slicing bread. It is also useful however, for cutting food that would be squashed from the pressure of a straight blade.

After you have established your basic collection, the possible additions to your collection are endless. You could buy a myriad of larger knives such as cleavers (large rectangular knives designed for cutting through bones and joints) or smaller knives such as tomato knives, utility knives or even grapefruit knives.

Caring For Your Knives

Even if you have purchased only moderately priced knives, you should be interested in learning how to preserve your investment. Knives will become dull over time as they are used. Fortunately, you can take a number of easy steps to help prolong the life of your blades. The most important step is to never put your knives in the dishwasher; you kitchen knives should always be washed by hand with a mild detergent and then hand dried. The second step is to always use a cutting board; other surfaces can damage your knife blade. The third step is to have your blades sharpened by a professional. And finally, do not keep your knives in a draw with all your other junk – the knives should be keep out of contact with any other metal in a knife block.

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What is the Secret to Buying the Best Kitchen Knives

Michael D. Brown asked:

So you want to buy the best kitchen knives and you are wondering what you should get. A trip to your local Walmart leaves you with the choice of a bubble packed, off brand of knife that will not let you feel the edge of the blade to see how sharp it is. Going down the street you stop at your local gourmet shop and look at their selection. Here you are confronted with several different brands and styles of knives most of which have a hefty price tag. They will have slicing knives, Chef knives, boning knives and paring knives some coming in block sets and some individual. It can rapidly become a bewildering experience.

The visit to the gourmet shop will introduce you to the wide world of high quality knives that will last you a life time. Most of the brands available today are of excellent quality. The differences in pricing are usually due to the types of steel and the different processes used. Is the knife stamped out of a sheet or is it individually forged? Has the steel been folded back on itself numerous times to produce a wavy pattern on the sides as you look at it? This is called Damascus style steel. Some of the Japanese style knives will have blunt tips and “Dee” or Octagonal shaped handles. They will have funny names like Santoku, Deba, Guyoto, Usuba or Yanagi.

In the home kitchen you basically need just a few knives. A 6 or 8 inch chef’s style knife will do most of the heavy cutting that you need for soups and stews. For finer jobs like cutting an apple or a tomato you would want a utility knife or a paring knife. If you want to cut meat and do some fish trimming you will want a filet or boning knife. Add in a cerrated bread knife and perhaps some steak knives for barbecue night and you have all the kitchen knives that you really need. On the other hand you could add in a nice fancy slicer for that turkey at Thanksgiving, and a nice diamond coated sharpening steel to sharpen your knife edges. That is just the beginning if you want to build a collection of the best kitchen knives.

Investing in a set of knives for your kitchen is something you should spend some time researching. How does the knife feel in your hand? Is it balanced? How sharp is it and how long does it keep an edge before it needs to be sharpened on a stone? Are you willing to buy a sharpening stone to sharpen them yourself? Will the manufacturer sharpen them for you? Do you want to add in a knife block to keep them safe? These and many other questions are answered on the Cutting Edge at Greatcookingtoday.com

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