One thing I learned later on in my cooking days (before cooking classes or cooking certifications) was the number 1 essential you need to prepare simple meals. Aside from whole foods being essential, of course, we’re talking about tools today people! If you have just ONE knife that cuts with ease, it’ll get the most mileage in your kitchen than any other tool. Great knives get the job done safely and with ease! (Think about the day you finally replaced your mattress - it’s a similar feeling when you have a knife that actually cuts.)
Springtime is a wonderful time of the year to cleanse your home of stuff you don’t use or don’t work (such as dull knives). Typically, I recommend donating items you don’t use, but in the instance of dull knives, toss them. They could be dangerous to the next user. NYC has instructions how to recycle knives here. A simple Google search will help you recycle your knives if you live outside of Manhattan.
Today, I share with you the 3 most basic knives to prepare simple meals. If your budget is only for 1 knife, my vote is for a chef’s knife. I do not recommend buying a whole knife set, because there may be knives that just take up space and you never use. Instead, head to your local kitchen supply store, and go straight to the knife section. I find the workers to be educated and happy to help you find the best knife for your style of cooking. Don’t feel pressure to buy right away. Write down the model and look online for the best deal.
I want you to think about this knife as a sharp extension of your hand. (Not quite like Edward Scissorhands, but connected to you.)
Your chef’s knife is your workhorse in the kitchen which is designed to mince, slice, and chop vegetables, as well as slice meat and fish with ease.
If your budget only allows 1 solid knife, this is the knife to invest in.
The small size of the paring knife gives you more control over your knife with one hand, allowing more detail with your cutting. This knife is easy to maneuver on your cutting board with a fine point.
Use your paring knife to peel and core fruits & vegetables, slice garlic & shallots, and score designs on various types of food.
If your budget allows for 2 knives, this is the second knife to invest in.
This is an extremely sharp knife with a toothlike and scalloped edge that will make cutting hard surfaces, like crusty bread or slippery surfaces, such as ripe tomatoes. The teeth of the blade catch the surface of the food and make it as simple as slicing into fresh grass-fed butter. (This knife can also very easily slice your finger, so please keep your eyes focused and your fingers out of cutting space. We’ll talk more about knife safety and cutting skills another time.)
If your budget allows for 3 knives, this is the third knife to invest in.
One Final Note…
When you have a great knife, handle it with care and ALWAYS hand wash it and stow it away safely. Doing so will allow the longest life and mileage of your knife.
In the meantime, I want to share with you a great resource I found to help from proper handling of your knife to sharpening, and care of your knife. Wusthof is the brand we keep on hand at Bliss in the Kitchen, and the economical brand I recommend as starter knives as you step up your home cooking game. Take a look through their library at Knife Skills Academy to learn some basics.
We want to know: Would you be interested in a knife skills class at the Bliss in the Kitchen Studio, or your home?