This past Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be really romantic to sign up my husband and me for a knife skills class. After all, nothing says “till death do us part” quite like a 10-inch chef’s knife. My knife obsession is no secret, and our kitchen features two knife drawers each holding about 10—one for Germans and the other for Japanese, with the Germans in the west drawer and the Japanese in the east. I love reaching into a drawer on a whim, and picking up an old friend that feels right for the task. Maybe I want to use my beloved Michel Bras all-purpose knife with a titanium-coated blade to slice mushrooms. Or my trusty Wüsthof chef’s knife to dice a pork butt. Or slice carpaccio paper thin with a spectacularly sharp FKW 9 MAC knife. Here’s a sneak peek of a few of the knives in each of the drawers.
There will be tons more posts on knives in future, believe me, but back to our knife skills class, which was held last night at Sur la Table at The Farmers Market. While I have ZERO formal culinary training, I have long been a fan of the instructor’s preferred “pinch grip” (which Alton Brown showed me years ago when we were judging a wild game competition together in Portland, Oregon) and the “claw” to keep your fingernails intact, but I learned a few new tricks including how to do a fine julienne, and an awesome new way to chop onions. However, allow me to save you the $79 (come on over, and we’ll julienne for free!) and any guilt over your love affair with sharp blades and lots of ’em. Our instructor systematically dissed just about every knife in my albeit excessive collection, telling us that all we need is a chef’s knife and maybe a paring knife (hot tip though: her favorite paring knife is one sold at Smart & Final for a song). I’m sure this is true—you really can do anything with a chef’s knife from clobbering a whole chicken to smashing and mincing garlic, but where’s the romance?