Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Quick Meals: I Need a Knife?

Old Faithful

That right there is old faithful. That knife has been with us for over 15 years and it's been a true workhorse. In fact, it is in my mind part of the reason that meal prep is what it is at our house. You see, I believe that you have to have a very good, very sharp knife in order to prepare meals quickly. If not, you spend so much time trying to muscle a dull knife through tasks that should be effortless. Chopping an onion should be a matter of seconds. Granted part of that is technique but a big part of it is the knife. So let's go through some questions you may have about knives and meal prep. Oh and as a reminder, any link that takes you to Amazon is an affiliate link, I get a little something-something if you decide to buy when you click through. Don't worry, you don't pay extra, Amazon gives it to me as a thank you for sharing products.

How many do I need?

At the very least, you need is one really good knife. If you have more than one chef, two would also acceptable. Shown below is a 6-inch chef knife, good for just about everything and a santuko which is really great for vegetables and okay for meats. 

How do I find the right one?

First, I would go to someplace that carries knifes such as Williams-Sonoma or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Hold them in your hand, get a feel for them. I personally prefer what's called a full tang knife, it has the metal running all the way through the blade. This style creates more weight but it also provides a different balance. You may find that you prefer the lighter weight of a 3/4 or less tang. The type of metal also makes a difference, some are alloys, others are lighter metals that have been hardened by differing techniques. A good salesperson should be able to point out the varieties available.

Look at the different lengths of a six-inch and an eight-inch.
It's not just the length that is changed with those numbers. 

Is a knife really worth THAT much money?

Now, once you get an idea of the length, type of tang, maybe even a specific brand, start shopping around for the best deal. You may be surprised by the amount of money you're going to spend if you're looking to buy a Wusthof or JA Henckels. Yes, these knives cost more, yes you are getting what you pay for. They hold a sharpening better, tend to be better balanced, and generally come with a pretty great guarantee that you're never going to have to use. But if you need something on a budget, Cook's Country highly recommends the Winco chef knife easily found on Amazon for under twenty bucks. I would recommend the 6 over the 8 as the 8 is a behemoth. We have one, it works but it's not a favorite. We got it to use while the other knives get sharpened.

What about those knife skillzzz you mentioned?

Okay, so a sharp knife isn't all you need to help cut down the time it takes to get a meal on the table. You also need to work on your knife skills. You can oftentimes find classes at local Williams-Sonoma stores or someplace that's selling kitchen wares. You can also take online courses, like this free one from Bluprint called Complet Knife Skills Cooking Class. And then, there's YouTube. If you want someone on one over the web or in-person if you're local send me an email and we'll set something up. 

You didn't tell me they were that sharp!

Listen, if you've been using those free knives you picked up from the bank when you opened an account in 1987, you're in for a surprise. Knives can be sharp, like "Where did that blood come from?" "Whose finger is that?" sharp. Never look away when you're using it. Always watch the blade and where it's going. It's not a pointer, lay it flat on the counter or in the sink. When you go to wash it, don't let it sit at the bottom of the sink because you're going to reach into a painful mistake. Always wash your good knife by hand, it takes three seconds, and it's good for you and your knife in the long run. 

Might want to buy a box of band-aid to go with your knife.

Can I buy used?

Of course you can! They are all over ebay. Just be aware that not everyone treats their knives very well and older ones tend to get little bits knocked off the sharp edge over time. You'll need to have someone that you trust sharpen them for you. 

Wait! I have more questions!

Okay, great! Leave a comment below and I'll do my best to find you an answer!

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