Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to choose and take care of your knives

Photo taken at the KaDeWe store in Berlin

When I attended my first cooking class, two of the participants come with their own knives, carefully packed in elegant etuis. They explained that they can only cut the vegetables for preparing the dishes required for the class with their own knives as they are not only used with, but they are high-quality expensive items that are used to and need for outperforming the recipes. 
Later on, I faced myself the need of better knives, when had to cut veggies or meat in specific ways, particularly when it comes to small amounts for salads. 
Buying a knife or specific knives for specific kitchen chores as I would find out later as my kitchen experience advanced. 

Altough I accumulated a lot of knowledge about the choices, I am still far away from acquiring that dexterity of cutting at high speed and with special movements of the wrist. As for now, I am ready to share some of my knife tips for a better cook and awesome recipes:
- The knife should always be very sharp, thus, you need to sharpen it regularly. In order to evaluate the sharpness, you need to try slicing through a sheet of paper.
- One needs to clean the knife immediately after using. The rests of foods left on the metal can create corrosion which destroys it. It is also recommended to keep them in the special knifeblock, where the blade is fully protected.
- No compromise should be done regarding the quality. As in the case of everything, the cheaper you buy the lower the quality and, therefore, the results. 
- For every special kind of cooking, there are special knives - for vegetables, fish, meat etc. You may need a separate knife for slicing, dicing, chopping, mincing, bread, or for preparing your favourite sushi or sashimi. There are also special knives to slice squash, carve a melon, dice an onion or garlic or mince parsley. Thus, when you are looking for one, keep in mind to specify what is the destination of it. Used wrong, it can either destroy the knive or your recipe. Or both.
- When buying a knife, it is important to have the opportunity to see it and eventually, do some little exercises with it. Thus, it is not recommended to buy it online, as in this case you don't have the occasion to fully experience the handle and the object as such. You shall have the opportunity to weights it in your hands, balance it in the palm
- When you choose a knife, you need to find the right for you. The chef's knife should be like a dance partner, the natural extension of the hand, coordinating the movements and together following the recipe directions. 
- The normal size is of 8' inch. The 10-inch size can cute more volume but may look a bit intimidating. The weight of the knife depends of the user, as it should allow the hand to freely move and has the full ability to move and perform the kitchen duties.
- All the elements of the knife should be considered when shopping for one. For instance, the bolster - the meeting point between the blade and the handle. It is an element of stability and strength to the knife. The models with partial and no-bolster can sharpen the full length of the items. The heel is the broadest and thickest part of the edge, whose performance has effect on the level of precision. It helps, for example, to cut throughout the winter squash or the poultry. 
- One of the most famous trademarks of knives are the Japanese ones - particularly recommended for the fish, sushi or sashimi preparation and the German ones (Messermeister, Trizor and W├╝sthof being one of the most appreciated brands).

What about you, what are your best tips for the perfect knife?

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