Every kitchen needs a really good knife, which doesn’t mean a really expensive knife. There is no point at all to buying an expensive knife if you do not “pay the second price” and learn how to keep it sharp. What do I mean? “Paying the second price is a term that I ran across last week in a blog by a man named David Cain. You can go to that article here: https://www.raptitude.com/2022/01/everything-must-be-paid-for-twice/
There is so much in the way of info, opinions and just nonsense out there in cyber-land these days that when you run across a concept that is new to you, it is something to be cherished. I may have come across the nugget of the idea expressed in this article before but, as is so often the case, context is everything. In this article they paying twice concept is presented in such a straightforward way that it was a moment of time-stopping clarity for me when I read it.
Back to the knife. Not everything I own is old. Or expensive. I have had this little knife for about 6 months now and paid less than £20.00 for it, including postage. In the knife world this is peanuts. Could I buy a cheaper one? I have far too many already. Read on. Did I need a new knife? Well, perhaps. Cooking is one of the principal joys of my life and I use a little knife such as this one at least three times every day for prepping fruit and veg for our meals. I had rather too many knives that got the job done but none that gave me the joy I was looking for in the process. I have small, female hands and I am guessing that most knives are designed by men. I have a few men friends who cook, but not many! No, it has been mostly the woman’s domain forever. This little knife snuggles into my hand as if they have been friends for many years.
Tools are important in our lives and it is a theme that I am sure to come back to many times in the course of writing these daily musings. There is a timely zeitgeist popping up all over the place now to buy things that last. This little knife is made in Spain by a small company as stamped on the blade in the picture. Boxwood handle, carbon steel blade- that fact alone demands attention! ‘Use me, wash me and then dry me up immediately. No dishwashers, no lounging about in the wet cutlery basket with other stuff and do not leave me wet on the wooden cabinet top as I will rust and leave a black mark on the wood as a testament to your laziness! And don’t forget to regularly sharpen me well.’ Such a demanding little presence in the kitchen might put many off but I love it more for these things. It’s the ritual thing again for me. But, let’s talk about sharpening for a second.
Keeping knives sharp makes them so much safer. They grip food properly instead of slipping off to create carnage. I sharpen mine on a stone and, once I have gotten a few more of the 10,000 hours I probably need to really know how to do that well, I will be happy with the process. As it is, I am happy LEARNING the process. Of course, there are electric sharpeners, idiot-proof sharpeners, “the last sharpener you will ever need in your life” sharpeners….I have had a few of each of these and they do the job…sort of, but not very well. A sharpening stone, again, demands attention. You can really ruin a knife if you don’t pay attention.
At long last, I have time in my life to pay attention.
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Oh I will have to look up how to sharpen a knife using a stone!
No one could get a knife sharper with a wet stone than AW. He had a lot of practice, too.
Dang. Another of those skills that could have been learned from a master if only I had known I would need to learn it earlier in my life.