Some of you may not be cooks. Some of you have a 6″ thick To-go Menu Folder sitting in a kitchen drawer that gets more use out of anything in the room. And some of you use your oven to store canned beans from 1992, pots from college that you bought at CVS to go with your Ramen, and/or toilet paper. It is my goal to make you a functioning cook. Here’s the secret: (are you paying attention? ahem….)
Have the right tools.
I know, it’s a simple answer. I’m telling you, get the right tools and making meals in your home will become a treat, not a chore. If you heed the valuable nibbles I give you, I promise, you will be impressing your friends and even yourself with the food that rolls out of your improved kitchen.
Tool #1: Chef’s Knife
It’s not actually just for chefs. The chef knife is the multi-purpose tool that every cook must own. You will find that once you find one you like, cooking without it will suck. You want to find one that feels balanced in your hand, not too heavy, and easy to grip. Chef’s knives have rounded blades (or steels) for a smoother rocking motion when slicing. They range in price from cheapy cheap to ridiculously expensive, 6-10″, and hollow edge or not. I prefer the middle of the road 8″. A “hollow edge” is the small round indentations in the blade that reduce friction and thus, less food gets stuck while slicing. It’s all personal preference. I’m going to go over a few ranging in quality and price. You decide how committed you are to honing your skills and what you want to pay as a result.
Germany & Japan excel in the art of knifemaking. I will list these from $ to $$$.
A – Forschner Rosewood 8″–Takes a beating, keeps on ticking. $33
B – Henckels Pro S 8″ Granton–Hollow edge for easy slicing, lifetime warranty. $70
C – F Dick 8″–Great balance. Mid-range quality AND YOU’D BE CUTTING FOOD WITH AN 8 INCH DICK. $75 (I’m so replacing my Wusthof with this. Not kidding. Santa?)
D – Tojiro DP Gyutou 210mm–Japanese knives are lighter as a whole and the blades are not quite as round. The feel takes a bit more getting used to but the life of these knives is amazing. They require less sharpening as well. This Tojiro is such a deal for a quality Japanese knife. Become a kitchen samurai for relatively cheap…$70
E – Masamoto VG10 Gyutou 210mm–Serious sushi chefs have these. Ancient art with this company. These are serious. $120
Notes: Do not put any of these knives in the damn dishwasher. This is an investment in your future! For maintenance, you will probably need to get a “sharpening steel” for the German knives. These maintain the edge of your new blade but do not actually “sharpen” them. Watch the video below for a quick lesson. I wouldn’t recommend using the steel for the japanese blades. These things are ridiculously sharp and don’t need a lot of constant attention. If you’d like to run the japanese blade over something, get a very fine sharpening stone. It’s almost spiritual, sharpening knives with a stone. I did it as a kid with my grampa’s knives.
These are roundabout prices. Don’t quote me! Christmas & Hanukkah are right around the corner. Get to shoppin’.
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