Friday, June 4, 2010

The absolute Beginners Guide to Learning How To Cook for Survival: Part 10 Knives

Knives are a big deal they are the oldest kitchen tool of all. Like most old tools there are an enormous number of specialized variations for all kinds of jobs. They also come in a wide variety of metals and non-metals.
The most important feature of a knife is how well it fits in your hand. If it doesn't fit you well, you won't be able to use it well and it will be more likely to slip and cut you.
You need two basic knives: a chefs knife and a paring knife. Mostly an 8" chefs knife and a 3" paring knife will do most of the work you'll ever do in the kitchen. But remember to make sure it fits you. My wife has smaller hands and so a 6" knife is better for her. I am on the large size and a 10" knife works best for me.
If you do a lot of some specialize task then getting a specialized knife makes sense. If you do a lot of fishing a fillet knife is helpful. Baking your own bread, which my wife does a lot, a serrated bread knife is great. We also like getting whole chickens and breaking them down ourselves, and a boning knife makes that job easier and faster.

There are some important accessories that your knife needs.
Two cutting boards, a plastic one for cutting raw meats that you can put in your dishwasher, and a wooden one for cutting vegetables since a good wood cutting board is a fast surface for cutting lots of ingredients quickly.
A honing steel, will realign the edge of the blade to true which keeps it sharp. It doesn't sharpen the blade, that requires a sharpening stone, which you should also own and learn to use.
A knife holder. Don't keep the knife in the drawer, it is dangerous and will dull your blade and scratch on everything else in the drawer. Whichever you choose make sure that the edge of the blade has minimal contact. You don't want the vertical blocks where it sits on the edge.