Knives in My Kitchen!

If it’s one thing I perpetually wonder about, it’s how people use those little slivers of serrated metal in their kitchens. Though I’m reliably informed, by the wife, no less, that people actually do like using the ‘slivers’, I still can’t help but wonder why? I mean, how, by any stretch of imagination can they be called kitchen knives? Real kitchen knives are things of beauty. A single piece of forged, shaped and sharpened steel with a sturdy handle in place: that’s a kitchen knife. When you hold one of these creatures, you’re all at once happy, full of confidence and ready to… cook. Really, I’m not exaggerating.

My Own Posessions

kitchen knives on a cutting board

There are a few knives in my kitchen that the rest of the world is absolutely forbidden from touching. Two are Chef’s knives in different sizes and two are cleavers in different weights. For most part, that’s all I ever need. In fact, before receiving the light-weight cleaver from a friend as a gift (it was one of his own knives, which makes it an even more precious possession), the Chef’s knife served me well for most tasks. Of course, a sharpening steel is also something you want.

The Alien Kitchen

It’s quite amusing therefore to step into an alien kitchen and see two or three blocks of highly polished wood, embedded with knives of different shapes and sizes. All quite expensive of course. That’s not to say good knives aren’t expensive. Oh, they can be heartbreakingly expensive. But, one of my best knives cost something like Rs 200. On the contrary I have another that costs around Rs 6000 and was promptly rendered useless by Noida water. It now has a roughly serrated blade, which was plain earlier.

Daily life in the kitchen

I digress though: back to the alien kitchen. On one occasion I picked up one of these knife-like things and tested it’s edge. Excellent utility. Not only could you place these things in the kitchen where they look like knives, the large ones could also be used as fly swatters and the round tipped ones could even be given to children to play with. Such a nice idea, yes? And oh, the kitchen platform had a few of those slivers of serrated metal standing proud in the cutlery stand next to the chopping board. No prizes for guessing which ones were actually used.

The Family Kitchen

Some of us will quote examples from our family kitchens and of ages gone past where the focus was on the taste of the final product, not the knives used. Of course! I agree. All I say is that if you’re going to enter the realms of serious cooking, you need a good knife just as surely as you need a good rope if you’re going to climb mountains… and yes, it is the same thing. My own dear wife is an outspoken exponent of the slivers of serrated metal and nothing could make her try one of my knives, which she says are too big for her hands.

The Way I see It

If you’re serious about cooking, you’ll find some brilliant knives that fit quite snugly into your waif-like delicate or king-kong-esque hands. Not only will a good knife help you chop at whatever speed you want, but will also be useful for many things other than just cutting vegetables. For example, try cutting a pile of toast into squares, de-veining prawns, dicing chicken or slicing cooked fish with a serrated sliver. You’ll know what I mean. I hope this article has been able to convey the absolute necessity a good knife is to every serious cook. To begin with I suggest ignoring the material the knife is made of and just choosing the type and price range you’re most comfortable with. A good knife will be your indispensable kitchen companion for years to come!

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.