I am in the market for some quality knives, american, german, japan? what is your favorite?
Also wooden cutting boards vs. plastic.?
I am staying with my DD in NJ, SIL is the chef here. He uses plastic cutting boards and all the knives are very dull. Is this due to the use of plastic cutting boards.? In my Fl home I use bamboo boads which I just love.
I can't tell you about knives; I have some very old carbon steel Sabatier knives that I love, plus some French Econome parers which I use a lot. But I try to use them only on wood rather than on a non-yielding surface; I think that's much better for them. We have a butcher block counter in the kitchen, plus bamboo cutting boards when we're bringing things to the table that will need slicing, like a baguette. I do have a thin plastic cutting mat, but it's flexible and is great for chopping up garlic or onions or green peppers and then transferring them directly to the pan.
I've had those Sabatier carbon-steel knives and loved them a lot although you must dry them immediately after use. Mine went amiss in a move. :( Now I have a Japanese chef knife that Alton Brown highly touted (and I love seeing all the layers of steel in it) and several smaller Henckel's and Wusthof Classic knives, plus the absolutely necessary good steel to keep an edge. Recently a friend let me use her Wustof Classic 3" paring knife, Santoku style, and I really liked it. I may have to get one.
On the other hand, I have an old Chicago Cutlery chef's knife that I've had forever, might have been my grandmother's. It keeps an edge as well as any knife I own.
Darius, I never bother to dry mine after use. I don't mind the spots and discolorations. I found my first one in the galley of a 74' boat my parents bought, and then got a couple more on my own, back when they were a lot cheaper. My son took the small paring knife out on the dock to clean fish once and dropped it in the mud. We waited until low tide and then made him get down there and look for it - and he found it! They don't get especially good reviews, but I like them anyway.
I also have a set of stainless Henckels that my FIL bought me a long time ago, but I never use them because I like my Sabatiers better.
thanks, i had sabs, and the tomato knife was stolen from my FL kitchen, (that was one of the first tomato knives to ebe bought. There I have a large set of cooks, they'r ok. have 2 global and love those - they are light weight, nice for my "young hands". So I went on this thread "chow something or other" and a whole world of knives opened and cutting boards... So I thought i'd ask here. I did have some henkels, never wusthof.
My mother loved knives. She passed down her collection as well as her passion. I used to have my knives professionally sharpened each year and maintain them with my steels but now I re-hone with a wetstone and never let anyone else touch them. Though I only rely on a few, I love to collect. I use the Henckel Zwilling full tang santoku chef and paring knife as my everyday knives but they don't hold an edge. I keep a set of both in each of my two homes. The downside is they need to be re-honed when doing large amounts of food or between prep for a standard party. They are too stainless and not enough carbon in the blades to maintain an edge, IMO. I use them because the balance is perfect for my hand and, since I cook professionally, my hand can get wrecked when there's a lot of food prep. The constant re-honing is a small price to pay for a well balanced blade.
I also have 40+ year old Sabatier knives (boning, multiple slicing lengths and paring). The old ones are great knives but are they the same today? They and Wusthofs hold a better edge but are not better balanced than Henckels for me. I have Wusthofs too. I own several paring and utility. I think there's a boning knife somewhere. I love Wusthofs. They hone so well on any steel. If I were starting all over again I'd look at Wusthof knives.
You must examine the individual knife and not the maker. The best brands all have dumbed down, cheaper versions these days. I personally will never own the hollow edge knives offered by any manufacturer; the ones that are so popular today, with the divots down the blades. That just seems un-knife-like to me because a knife should be able to be sharpened until it looks like a toothpick, which might take a few hundred year, and a hollow blade is not going there. There are great European antique knives that are like still in use and are like steel threads. I also think the great single crafted Japanese knives, with beautifully steel patterns, have been copied by respected knife makers for their aesthetic and are not worth the money to buy a German or French knife with a Japanese aesthetic. Lame, IMO.
I have just a few knives that are art pieces specially commissioned. They have beautiful handles and blades. I cherish these knives for their weird curves made to bone game or for the beautiful shapes made to cut cheese. Among the non-custom knives in this assortment are a number of older Laguiole folding knives and screws I acquired in France. Apparently the name was never patented and the name, but not the product I own, is available in various versions.
Wood is definitely the way to go. I maintain large blocks and use smaller boards as much as possible. A quality wood block will outlive you whether it is basic maple or a designer version with multiple woods. SO gave me aboard made from a huge hunk of maple before we were married. It's my everyday board over forty years later. Even the cheapest wood is preferable. I have a cheap Walmart cutting board in our cottage that's over twenty years old. Yes, it has been re-laminated but plastic boards have come and gone. Hope this helps.
thank you for that info. Now that I addressed this full face so to speak i understand exactly what you are saying and can only agree. I have had several different brands and never addressed the fitting of the hand until now. I am finding global knives very befitting my hand. Am investing in a stone to learn to sharpen my knives.Now that I am older still love to cook from scratch a shap knive is a must. Did get the Messermeister Elite pearing and 8" chefs wonderful knives but too heavy for my hands. So i'll have the global sharpened and then maintain them. Instructions with the knives: do not put in dishwasher as this will dull the knives.and use on wood boards not plastic. This being abused in this household hence all the dull knives.In mymotheer household and mne we always used wood. To point sometimes very cheap boards never put them in dishwasher as they do here in my DD house. I am glad Iasked here as I did learn a lot.
One last thing...don't let others use your knives. A knife blade will wear according to the users hold and sharpening technique. If other people use your knives they will ruin the edge. My knives have never been in the dishwasher. They don't go on the drain board or in the bottom of the sink. They are never used to cut something on a ceramic plate. They are washed, placed to the side of the sink and dried immediately. Harsh detergents in DW soap is damaging to steel and can pit the blades. I have made fabric storage sleeves for my knives to keep the blades from nicking. The wall hung magnetic bars are excellent for storage too. Don't place good knives loose in the drawer.
All the above may sound fanatical. I'm not a snob about knives. In fact I own two really cheap sets (one for each house) that come in a storage block. They were less than fifty dollars for a whole set and the block. The cheapest ones sharpen like razors but they bother my hand after long use. These were purchased for family members to use. They don't spend hours prepping foods the way I do.
A wet stone is a very cheap investment. Make sure you get one long enough to handle the full sweeping stroke needed for a large blade. Many stones are made for sharpening pocket knives and too short for kitchen knives. Even with all the cooking I do my knives see the stone just two or three times a year. I have an issue with the steels, even the expensive ones, that are sold with high end knives. They are too short as well to take a good stroke. I keep my stones in a plastic bag and drip a bit of mineral oil on both sides before using to reduce friction. One side of the steel is more course than the other. You start on the courser side and finish your knife on the finer. Then align the blade by passing the knife over your steel. You should use the steel each time you take out the knife (well occasionally I cheat). If you don't your edge will go altogether and you'll have to use the stone more frequently which puts greater wear on the knife.
You are killing me! (Old Sabatier carbon steel knives, and mine are missing.)
I own a variety of sharpening stones in several grades, from some cheap carborundum stones (maybe good for an axe or machete) to some really nice soft and hard Arkansas oil stones. Recently I was going through a box of old family stuff (mostly genealogy papers and photos) and found my Grandfather's old straight razor knife hone / sharpening stone ~ made by Franz Swaty in Austria. It's probably 100 years old! I had forgotten I had it, and I'm anxious to try it out.
"Steels" are mis-understood by most people (except professional folks like MaypopLaurel) as they are not "sharpening" steels. They're all STRAIGHTENING steels. All they do is straighten the edge on an already sharp knife edge after it's been used. Having said that, has anyone ever used a "steel" by Friedr Dick?
Yes, a steel does not sharpen a knife. Many think of a chef in a high toque whipping a long carving knife back and forth before laying it into the traditional carving board roast. Thin slices fall away from a hunk of beast and juice rolls off the board and into a trough. In reality, a steel removes microscopic burrs on the blade edge while balancing the front edge to the back.
Darius, I recall you mentioning those Sabatiers several years ago. Any ideas about what may have happened to them? Both my dad and grandad used straight razors, strops and stones and boar bristle shaving brushes. Wow! What a memory, as a little girl, keeping company with the men in my life while they shaved! The strop was used as a steel for shaving razors.
Yeah, I wish I had my grandfather's leather strop although it would be dust by now. They are still available from fine purveyors, but costly. Actually there's a rather large online community dedicated to all facets of straight razor shaving. When I was little, Gillette sponsored most football and baseball games in the early days of TV. They'd GIVE you the razor if you'd buy their blades. My grandfather always said they didn't shave as nicely as a straight razor... and you didn't have to buy it over and over.
I remember his bristle shaving brushes, and he had some kind of soap for them that came in a shallow turned wooden bowl with a lid. I can "almost" remember the smell. What is is with young girls and the wonderful older men in their lives that we watched them shave?
I've never figured out what happened to those Sabatier knives, nor the ONE box out of many that held my favorite and non-replaceable books.
I have a full set of the high end classic Wusthof knives, and I love them--especially the 3 1/2" paring knife. Wish I had about 8 of those--would lay them out with my table place settings for individual meat knives. But even with the very fine Wusthofs, my go-to knife for most jobs is an inexpensive ceramic chef's knife--seems to get the job done with less stress than any of the steels--especially for veggie prep.
My daughter has a set of Cutco knives, and I love-love the chef's knife in that set. Love the balance and weight, and it fits my hand perfectly. My son prefers his Wusthof to the Cutco. Guess it has to do with size of hands and the way you hold them. And I guess the matter of preference in cutting tools is just a highly personal thing. They should let you try out the knives at kitchen stores before purchasing.