Anyone who has tried to carve a Thanksgiving turkey with a butter knife would tell you not all knives are created equal.
“I always tell people, without a doubt, a good knife is the most important tool to have in your kitchen,” says Mari McCullough of Creative Kitchen in Fargo.
She says too often people will use whatever knife they have on hand, not realizing the difference a good knife can make. She says it’s important to pick the knife that fits you best and is also designed for the job you’re doing. Check out our video.
5 things to know about kitchen knives
Think: big three
Professional chefs will have dozens of knives for particular jobs but for the average amateur cook, McCullough says you should start with the three most important knives: the chef’s (or cook’s) knife, the paring knife and the serrated knife.
The cook’s knife is a good multi-purpose tool for slicing meat or chopping vegetables, a paring knife is a small, versatile utility knife used for smaller peeling and chopping and a serrated knife can be used for bread and even some vegetables.
“The serrated knife gets right through the bread crust and tough skins on tomatoes,” McCullough says. “It’s even used for angel food cakes so it doesn’t squash the product.”
Pick what fits
While professionals like Sara Moulton recommend a 10-inch chef’s knife, McCullough says it’s important to get the knife that feels best in your hands. She says the 8-inch knife is their biggest seller.
“We have 8-inch knives in every brand sitting out in the store,” she says. “We encourage people to come out and hold the knives and see which one feels the best.” (In our video, she demonstrates how brands and sizes feel different. I actually preferred the 6-inch knife.)
Sets don’t matter
In the past, consumers may have felt they had to purchase knife sets, but McCullough says that’s not the case anymore.
“It used to be very matchy matchy with knives. Now people might like one brand for a paring knife and another brand for a serrated knife. It’s what’s best for you that matters,” she says.
Don’t forget the accessories
It’s important that you surround your knives with accessories that will enhance their performance and not detract from it, including a good cutting board. McCullough says wood cutting boards are best because they are naturally antibacterial and the wood gives a bit to the sharp knife.
“With glass or granite cutting boards they’re so hard they can damage your knife every time you use them. There’s no use investing in good knives if your cutting boards aren’t knife-friendly,” McCullough says.
Having a good knife sharpener is also important. McCullough says she will run the blade of her knife through a home sharpener each time she uses it, but it’s also important to occasionally take them in for professional sharpening.
“It’s so important to keep that in mind,” she says, “Dull knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones since you end up putting more pressure on them to cut the food. It’s easier for your hand to slip and cut you.”
Tip: keep the knives out of the dishwasher where the abrasive soap can dull the blades.
Knives are an investment
You shouldn’t settle for knives that make cooking harder. Invest in good knives that will last for years. McCullough compares it to golf.
“People will spend hundreds on a new set of golf clubs that they use maybe two or three times a week, but don’t want to spend money on great knives that they probably use two or three times a day,” she says.
McCullough says people sometimes don’t realize that using the right knife can make all the difference in how much you enjoy cooking and your time in the kitchen.
“It’s definitely worth taking a second look to see if your knives are really working for you,” she says.
Creative Kitchen Knife Open House
What:Wusthof Cutlery will be in Fargo with great deals and free knife sharpening. Creative Kitchen allows customers to try out knives everyday of the week and offers knife-sharpening.
When: May 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: West Acres Mall, 3902 13th Ave. S., Fargo
Info: Visit creativekitchenonline.com or watch our video at: inforum.com