Sharp Knives


I feel like such an adult now.

I finally invested in a set of sharp new knives. Nothing fancy schmancy. Just everyday workhorse Victorinox knives. I got a 4-inch paring knife, a 6-inch utility knife, an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 10.25-inch bread knife and a 12-inch slicing knife that makes me feel like a samurai wielding my sword.

I heart them.

Not only that, but I got a knife sharpener too. With the idea that I would actually care for and maintain my lovely little babies. I got the Accusharp knife sharpener, which is ridiculously easy to use. I have actually even used it already. Just like a grown up would.

My beautiful, glittering new arsenal replaces a sorry, rag tag bunch of knives I’ve held on to for far too long.

Most of the predecessors were from a knife set that an ex-sister in law gave us 10, maybe 12 years ago. It was a nice enough set back then, pedigree unknown, but plenty sharp with wooden handles and a wooden block in which to store them.

At the time, though, I was woefully ignorant in the ways of proper knife management. I mean, I didn’t even know the difference between a bread knife and a chef’s knife, let alone how to use a sharpening steel.

So what that meant was for the first 8 or 9 years or so, I never sharpened those knives. Truly. Hey, my cooking is what you call rustic so it’s not like I ever tried to dazzle anyone with my precision cutting skills. I am more of a rough chop kind of girl.

But over the last couple of years it dawned on me that it might make chopping a whole lot easier and faster (and safer) if those knives were nice and sharp.

So I bought a couple of cheap-y Chicago cutlery knives at Fred Meyer, and took those babies for a spin. The difference was night and day.

Instead of hacking and bludgeoning my way through the vegetables, I simply sliced through them with a flick of the wrist. So that is what it’s supposed to be like.

I used those for a year or so, sharpening (or is that honing?) them every so often with the crappy sharpener they came with.

But as of late, the knives just didn’t seem to stay very sharp, no matter how much I employed the crappy sharpener.

It was definitely time for a set of real knives. Adult knives.

I have been known to go a little nuts with research at times, but this time I decided to stick with the Cook’s Illustrated recommendations. For those on a budget, they recommend Victorinox knives, pretty much for any style of knife, and Accusharp knife sharpeners.

Clearly I am no expert, but I do think these knives perform beautifully. I can chop through veggies like butter. I used to hate chopping onions – with the old knives I basically had to saw through the onion. And winter squash? Fuggedaboutit. It was like I was murdering the poor things.

Now? Now I am like a slicing and dicing Benihana ninja. Not really.

My knives are beautiful, but my knife skills leave something to be desired. My hands are all cut up from the careless handling – I guess now I need to bone up on my technique.