The best kitchen knife you can have – Part two

Part two, continued from part one.

Sets of knives: My advice for what it’s worth, Do not buy a set of knives and do not buy a set of cookware. It may look pretty in the knife block, or hanging from the hanging pan rack. But that’s because half of them will never be used. Buy what you need and sometimes buy what you want.  A set of anything will include stuff you will never use.

Second piece of advice:  If you have a partner, do not make them conform to what you like. I am not a Cutco fan, but the handles fit my wife’s hand and she likes them. Francene is less likely to hurt herself using what she likes than using something that doesn’t feel right to her. Or using what I want her to use.

Knife brands I would recommend would be Henckel’s Pro, I don’t care for the International line from experience, They are just a knife set with a block, standard wedding present. The Shun Classic is good if you like their D handle.  One side is bulged to fit the hand better. So if you’re left handed you will need to special order them. If you don’t want to display them, then I would opt for the Shun Sora line.  Less money because they less fancy. The Sora line was designed for the restaurant line cook or sous chef.

Mac knives are excellent for the money.  They also come in many of the Japanese styles such as Nakiri and a wonderful birds peak paring knife.

Global knives are very stylish and have a metal handle that is textured for grip.

Victorinox, I still buy them. Wusthof Classics, makes probably the best flexible boning knife available.

The point is, you can buy some really good knives without breaking the bank.

I have list just a few of the many excellent kitchen knives available. Beware of the 10 best articles as these have been written to sell knives & not provide any real world advice.

High end knives: If you want to spend the money, go for them. Sure to impress the knowledgeable guest but won’t really slice and dice any better then a true professional knife.

Forschner by Victorinox, straight boning knife, I had it’s curved mate but seldom used it. Gave it to my son Trevor.

Every kitchen needs a boning knife. It can be used for so many tasks.

I have used it several times to de-bone a turkey, cut out and remove the skeleton from a whole turkey (except leg and thigh bones). Then double stuff to reshape the bird, roast, and when you serve, you cut across the grain and serve a slice of both turkey meat and stuffing together. Yummy.

It’s thin blade is just perfect for getting into joints or sliding around a curved shoulder blade.

Honorable mention, first Santuko style knife I ever bought.

The Spyderco Santoku. This knife really does the job. It’s a blend of the Japanese Santoku and Western Chef’s knife.

If I had to settle on 2 or 3 knives, this might be in the kit. Although it is seldom used anymore.

Replace with more job specif styles. I had two, gave one to my son Trevor (local sous Chef) who admits it’s still one of his favorites.

This I would give as a wedding present, with the advice that the glamorous knives stay in the block for display, but use the hell out this one. Great knife.

It is also a knife I would keep in an emergency pack.

Another Victorinox, a slicer with granton edge, to keep the food from sticking to the blade. Great handle, ultra sharp, just ask the emergency room.

This was a Christmas present from Francene, she saw how often I used my 50 year old slicer and surprised me with this.

The 50 year old Victoronix slicer, still super sharp and well used. Now supplemented, not replaced by a new 14 inch slicer with a granton edge.

These two slicers are used for so many chores with the number one use being slicing pork shoulder into strips for making sausage. The 14 inch length enables the cuts to be made in one stroke.

Joyce Chen, unless you need a serious Chinese cleaver / knife.  The Joyce Chen is light, thin and strong enough to be a cleaver and thin enough to slice and dice. It also holds a great edge.

Joyce Chen cleaver.  I had two of these and gave one to my brother. I stumbled across this odd tv show in the early 90’s, The Iron Chef, and was hooked with the first episode. Did I learn to cook from it?  No. Did I ever try to duplicate one of their dishes?  No. Have I watched every single episode?  Yes.

I have video’s of all the episodes and still go back and watch one when nothing else on TV looks good.

I loved watching Chen Kenichi wield his Chinese knife.  The things he could do with that thin bladed cleaver. This is an exaggeration because I don’t really know the real numbers, but it seams the Japanese use 40 different style blades and the Chinese use two. How do they do it?

Anyway, you can’t get the Joyce Chen anymore (retail) but there are many good knife/cleavers out there. Not to be confused with a 5 pound thick bone cleaver. Most of them seem to be in the $25.00 range.

Mine gets used mostly for prepping chicken, I like to halve my bone in chicken breasts and will set the cleaver where I want the cut and use a rubber mallet to give a firm tap.  The results are super clean cut with out damaging a more delicate knife.

Cutco again, but this one I love. We have tried other cheese knives, some with the fork on the end.

Doesn’t matter, this is the best out out there.

J.A. Henckels International set. Bread slicer.  Hey, it slices bread.  You don’t need to spend big bucks for that. Rest of set is in the garage.

Messermeister Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener, 12-Inch.  I don’t recommend this as a primary knife sharpener or as a steel, but somewhere in between both. I have used steels for years but have switched to this ceramic rod. It will remove a bit of steel and will do a bit of sharpening while using it.

The fine edge of a properly sharpened knife does not dull easily, but the very edge tip will start to cant or roll to one side. A steel is used to straighten that edge out again.

All knives will need to be sharpened if you use them. When I first started sharpening knives I started with the kitchen sharpeners that were a godsend to the ordinary house wife, but should be banned and destroyed. I will even include the Chefschoice sharpeners in that statement.

Learn to use a stone or send them out. There is not a more dangerous a kitchen tool then a dull or badly sharpened knife. Not all knives get sharpened to the same degree.  The blade thickness will vary the angle of the edge as well as the style of the knife determining the angle of the edge. You may also have a single edge knife.

It takes time, practice and patience to properly sharpen a knife. But that edge should last up to six months as long as you care for the knife and use a steel to realign the edge. How long has it been since yours where sharpened?

Don’t replace the blade, sharpen it. Then if it won’t hold the edge, replace it.

I will do a post on knife sharpening.  If you choose to do it yourself.

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I love to read and cook, and I am at the age I am not afraid to share my opinion. There is the right way, the wrong way and Bill's way. 🙂
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