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kitchen-knives-msg - 4/21/08

 

Kitchen knives for the modern kitchen and feast preparation, Similar tools. Mandolins. Knife care.

 

NOTE: See also these files: headcooks-msg, kitch-toolbox-msg, warming-ovens-msg, cutting-onions-msg, cooks-clothng-msg, kitchen-clean-msg, Fst-Managemnt-art, iron-pot-care-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org

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Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 06:53:42 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Kitchen tools question (mandolin)

 

UlfR wrote:

> I've been considering getting myself a mandolin. The only ones I have

> found locally -- apart from cheepies -- is

> http://www.kitchen-classics.com/mandolin.htm and an all stainless steel

> one that looks similair.

>

> Any advice from those who have used them? Are they worth the price?

> Would the all stainless steel one be a better buy in the long run?

 

The stainless one might be a better buy in the long run than the one you

reference, and here's why. Others may have different opinions, but what

happens is that as you use the mandolin, it very slowly begins to become

dull, like any other knife. Unfortunately, unlike other knives, the

design doesn't really allow for sharpening. As it becomes even more

dull, you find yourself using more force, placing the plastic parts and

joints under what amounts to the plastic equivalent of metal fatigue

(repetitive stress injuries?) while simultaneously increasing risk of

cutting yourself seriously as you use it, either because you simply get

your hand too close to the edge, or because you suddenly break the thing

and the blade ends up somewhere it shouldn't be.

 

"How could that be?" you ask. "I would use the little safety

handle/plunger thingy!"

 

  The trouble is that that little plunger thingy tends to be put away

sometimes, when people realize that it mars the food with little spike

holes, and that when using it you can lose something like 25% of your

usable product, unless you can find another, less cosmetically dependent

use for those pieces. So, safety risks notwithstanding, I've found that

a lot of cooks prefer to use a side towel or their bare hands.

 

Much of what I'm describing applies to all-stainless versions as well,

except perhaps less liklihood of plastic-fatigue and spontaneous

dissolution of the mandolin itself, but they also become dull after a

while, making them somewhat dangerous to use.

 

Radical or not, I guess what it boils down to is how often you're going

to use it. If you use it every day, or own a restaurant, etc., I would

say go with the all-stainless-steel machine. If you use it at home once

a month or less, well, what I do is buy the $7 cheapy from the Korean

market, and at the first sign of damage or trouble, replace it. For use

somewhere in between, you might consider the more expensive plastic

version you cite.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: Jennifer Thompson <JenniferT at ptb.com>

To: "'sca-cooks at ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 10:05:19 -0500

Subject: [Sca-cooks] mandolins (and Tday menu)

 

I bought a cheap plastic one at a Pampered Chef party, and got so used to

having it around that when I noticed the blade getting dull, bought a

pricier steel one. So speaking from personal experience, ditto to everything

Master A. said, PLUS,  the lightweight  plastic one skitters around my

counter if I do raw potatoes or anything weighty. My new steel one sits

still, making the actual slicing easier on me in terms of strength and

speed, since I'm neither having to keep a death grip on it with my left

hand, nor am I fighting to push both against the blade and against the tool.

 

Also, I don't use my holding tool much, but not because I'm concerned about

the cosmetic damage to my slices. I resent the waste and larger pieces are

top-heavy, flopping around between the tool and the blade. If I hold them, no

flop. Until it gets to a smaller, flatter piece, then I get cowardly and use

the tool or another piece of potato or whatever.

 

Lann

 

 

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 10:18:20 -0500

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks]  Mandolines

 

There was a question like yours on the NPR show

The Splendid Table on Nov. 17th. The host

Lynne Rossetto Kasper had a call from someone

like you who was wondering about buying a mandoline

as a gift. they went through the various points on

the show about the pros and cons of the expensive

French imports versus the cheaper Japanese models.

The program is at:

 

http://table.mpr.org/listings/shows01_11.html

 

You can listen to it, if you want.

What they came to the conclusion about the item was

that in this case one of the Japanese models was probably

suitable and cheaper.

 

I own a Bron myself. I waited several years to buy it and

had made the decision that I would really use it and would

spend the money to get that model. I then waited until I got

a free shipping and discount offer before I actually did the

order. It still was a big bucks item.

They are an investment item, and not something to buy without

a great deal of consideration. (Unless you have big bucks...

which if that is the case by all means buy one...)

You can check for one at: http://www.cutlery.com/

One thing that may work to your advantage is that the dollar

is currently very strong against other currencies, so the

prices may be pretty good in the near future...

Hope this helps.

 

Johnna Holloway  Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

 

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 07:19:37 -0800

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: Steve <s.mont at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] mandolins

 

In general I prefer, like so many of us here, the all stainless

mandolins.  However I've seen the one that was shown on the website

live.  It is made by Matfer, the company that makes the good stainless ones

and it is rather sturdy.  There is no way that I would get one of the cheap

v-slicer types or other design that doesn't have a support leg at the

top.  In order to keep them steady when using them I'll set the mandolin on

a damp side towel (this works for cutting boards on slick counters also.

 

AEduin

 

 

From: Druighad at aol.com

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 12:57:28 EST

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Kitchen tools question (mandolin)

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

parlei at algonet.se writes:

> I've been considering getting myself a mandolin. The only ones I have

> found locally -- apart from cheepies -- is

> http://www.kitchen-classics.com/mandolin.htm and an all stainless steel

> one that looks similair.

>

> Any advice from those who have used them? Are they worth the price?

> Would the all stainless steel one be a better buy in the long run?

 

I have a plastic body with steel blades mandoline and I love it. It has

removeable plates to change up to whatever I need. It also has a hand guard

so I don't end up slicing my fingers to shreds. I think it cost me about

$30.00 American, and it's dishwasher safe.

 

You can go to Chef's Choice on the web and they should be able to give you a

few alternatives. I personally prefer the plastic, but the stainless steel

don't absorb odors as much.

 

Finnebhir

 

 

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 13:06:25 -0600

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: Gorgeous Muiredach <muiredach at bmee.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Kitchen tools question (mandolin)

 

>Why not? The way I understand it the blade can be removed, and once I

>have a metal blade in my hand I so far have been able to sharpen it. I

>can see the julienne blade being somewhat of a tricky customer here, but

>with a small, flat diamond stone even they should be managable.

 

Ahh, yes the metal blade on better (read stainless) mandolins can be taken

out and sharpened, or replaced.  I tried sharpening my blades, and while it

works fine, the problem is that the actual blade shape can end up being not

the nice and straight edge, or even if it is, it "shrinks" away from where

it was originaly.  Believe me, this is not good :-)

 

>  So, safety risks notwithstanding, I've found that

> > a lot of cooks prefer to use a side towel or their bare hands.

 

Adamantius is right there.  14 years in professional kitchens and I don't

recall seeing anyone but one apprentice using the hand guard.  On top of

the concerns already raised, I offer one of speed.  Loading the thing with

the guard is really, really slow.  I know, safety and speed tend not to mix

real well, but...

 

>You've pretty much have talked me out of the plastic version

 

Good.  Unlike Finnebhir, I happen to think that the plastic ones are really

not worth bothering with.

 

>Are they that much faster/better for the

>slicing jobs that they are worth bothering with

 

Yes, and yes, and yes.  They also afford the advantage of UNIFORMITY. That

and the fact that most people don't/won't/can't use their knifes to prepare

that thin slices, or regular julienne, etc.

 

>Any other things I should consider spending the money on instead?

 

A stainless mandolin will last you your whole lifetime.  Unless, like me,

you are daft enough to leave it in your car and get it stolen from you

:-(  Seriously, you won't regret a professional grade stainless mandolin.

 

Gorgeous Muiredach

Rokkehealden Shire

Middle Kingdom

 

 

From: "Darren Gasser" <kaos at earthlink.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] sharpening knives...

Date: Fri, 9 May 2003 11:46:17 -0700

 

Phlip wrote:

> You guys were asking about how to sharpen knives. Here's one guy's

> solution. The URL is so named because it gets knives scary sharp.

>

> http://www.shavings.net/SCARY.HTM#condensed

 

Thanks for the article.  I've already passed it along to a couple of

woodworkers and bladesmiths...

 

Caveat exacutor for cooks, though.  This article describes a method for

putting a 2 degree edge on woodwoorking planes designed to shave off

translucent-thin pieces of hardwood.  I wouldn't think it would be good for

most kitchen knives, even ones made of steel that could take this kind of

edge.  I find an 18 degree bevel works just fine on my knives, and only

requires re-sharpening once every couple months (steeling at each, or

nearly each, use of course).

 

-Lorenz

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 00:17:15 -0400

From: "a5foil" <a5foil at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A question about knives

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

For us, the cleaver is pretty much a specialty knife, used primarily for

chopping up smoked pork shoulder to make chopped pork barbecue. For

everything else, a large chef's knife is more than adequate. And if you've

never felt the need for one, you probably don't need to make that kind of

investment right now.

 

Cynara

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 00:23:43 -0400

From: Bill Fisher <liamfisher at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A question about knives

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

On Sun, 17 Oct 2004 16:59:21 -0700 (PDT), Huette von Ahrens

<ahrenshav at yahoo.com> wrote:

> pretty without the finish].  However, some of the

> knives with the black stain have been taking to

> rusting after every wash.  So I have decided to

> retire them after such long use.

 

Older knives are carbon steel and should not be

left in the dishwasher.  Wash them by hand and

then dry them thoroughly.  You could probably fix

them with some rubbing compound.

 

> I have taken a real liking to the Kershaw Shun

> knives and am gradually purchasing various of

> them.  The questions I have are these:

>

> 1) What is a birdbeak knife and what do you do

> with it?  [And no wiseacre answers about chopping

> birdbeaks!]

 

It is a little paring knife, used for cutting things like

veggies, decorative pieces, etc.  I suppose you

could use it for cutting birds beaks, but it is named

for the shape of the blade.

 

> 2) The cleaver is about $129.  How many of you

> actually use the cleaver on a regular basis?

> I have never owned one, so I am trying to decide

> whether it is worth it to spend this goodly sum

> or not.

 

Uhm, I don't own one, but I am planning on getting one.

 

Cleavers are handy for cutting meat on the bone,

chopping up squash, etc.  Anything you need a blade

with some heft to chop.   Some smaller cleavers (like

the chinese ones) are good for slicing and chopping too.

 

Depends if you have a need for that sort of thing.

 

Cadoc

 

 

Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 23:51:12 -0700 (PDT)

From: Chris Stanifer <jugglethis at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A question about knives

To: Bill Fisher <liamfisher at gmail.com>,    Cooks within the SCA

        <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

--- Bill Fisher <liamfisher at gmail.com> wrote:

> Older knives are carbon steel and should not be left in the dishwasher.

 

No steel knife, high carbon or not, should ever be placed in the dishwasher, with the exception of Stainless Steel (though i still advise against this).  First, you may rust your knife if you don't dry it immediately (especially high carbon), and the beating they take in an automatic dishwasher will ruin the edge.  Same is true for placing quality knives in a drawer with other utensils.  No, if you have a good set of knives, and you want to keep them that way,

please wash them by hand, dry them immediately, and keep them safe from being banged around.  Try rubbing a little shortening or lard into the blade after use, to keep it from rusting.

 

As for an older, high carbon knife, the darkening of the blade may be due to the action of acid on the blade.  If you have been using a HC knife to cut citrus, tomatoes, or anything with a high acid content, and you don't wash it immediately, the acid may darken and eventually pit your blade.  HC blades also darken naturally over time, and a 50 year old set like yours would actually

be quite uncommon if it didn't darken.

 

>> 1) What is a birdbeak knife and what do you do

>> with it?  [And no wiseacre answers about chopping

>> birdbeaks!]

>

> It is a little paring knife, used for cutting things like

> veggies, decorative peices, etc.  I suppose you

> could use it for cutting birds beaks, but it is named

> for the shape of the blade.

 

Also called a Tourne knife, used for 'turning' vegetables, and makes fluting a mushroom cap a real breeze.  I haven't had much call to use a Tourne knife professionally since the decline of 'nouvelle cuisine' in the late 80's, though I still think the technique of turning vegetables is worth the time it takes to learn.

 

I do not now own, nor have I ever owned, a cleaver.  This is not to say that they are not a useful tool... but I have found that a solidly built French or German Chef's Knife can do the job of a cleaver 98% of the time. And, the local Butcher can fill any gaps...

 

William de Grandfort

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 10:44:30 -0400

From: "marilyn traber 011221" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A question about kives

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> I have only in the last few months been washing

> the old knives in the dishwasher, not because

> I wish to ruin them but because I had noticed

> that we had a large amount of knives sitting

> [sometimes for days] on the counter waiting to

> be hand washed.  I felt it would be better for

> the knives to be washed quicker than to leave

> them dirty for days before washing.

 

It's not better- you're ruining the steel. The temperatures alone are enough,

in some dishwashers, to ruin the temper of the knives. The "temper" is the

balance of hardness and softness that leaves you with a knife that will hold

an edge for a long time- if a blade is super hard, it's liable to break and

chip, if it's super soft, it won't hold an edge. The difference is caused by

developing the chrystalline structure of the blades, and that is done

strictly with heat.

 

The other thing you're doing with those poor knives, by exposing them to

dishwashing soap is exposing them to an alkaline environment, which is eating

the edge. If you MUST have knives that go in the dishwasher, go out and get a

cheapy set and use them, and put the older knives up, only using them when

you know you can wash them properly.

 

> As for the Flint knives, I have looked at them

> again and they call themselves Flint Vanadium.

> Whether this is high carbon or not, I don't know.

> But the dark stains are only on the chef knives

> and not on the bread knife, the cutting knife,

> or the paring/utility knives. And the stains

> pre-date my putting them in the dishwasher.

> Interestingly enough, the chef knives are the

> only ones that rust, which makes me believe tha

> the carbon is wearing through the vanadium

 

Huette, the carbon isn't wearing through the vanadium- it can't, any more

than you can mix beef bouillion and chicken bouillion in a soup, and pick out

the beef areas from the chicken areas. What you have, apparently, is a set of

knives some of which are 1st generation stainless steel, and some of which

are (relatively) high carbon steel. It is the nature of carbon steel knives

to get stained with use- the only thing you can do to prevent it is to not

us them, or to polish them up so the stains vanish, and since you're

removing steel from them every time you polish them, eventually you're going

to have them so thin that they're useless.

 

Vanadium is an element that, when alloyed with steel, gives it certain

qualities of toughness that are very valuable, but when you alloy a steel,

you're just mixing the element into the steel itself- it's not like plating,

where you're just applying a layer of a second metal over the first

metal.

 

If I were you, I'd value the stained knives, and their stains, as valuable

servants who are showing their wear and the many meals they've helped

prepare, and retire them unless you want to use them for a special meal,

where you can clean them properly. As for the others in the set, continue to

use them, as long as they're not being affected by the dishwasher- otherwise,

retire them as well.

 

Phlip

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 13:01:54 -0400

From: "marlyn traber 011221" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> Iım writing this because I need to replace a few of my worn out

> knives. Have a few handles that have come loose and a few knifes

> where the tang wasnıt thick enough. My main deal is that I donıt

> care for knives that are stainless, and canıt afford the high carbon

> stainless. I was thinking of just getting a small set of the Old

> Hickory knives but canıt seem to find any in my area. Seems that

> most people have a low opinion of them I guess. And while I could

> just get them through mail order I simply get tired of always oing

> that.

 

Dunno what all this noise is about liking or disliking one brand or another-

I think many of us have been suckered by the "brand names you can trust" way

of thinking, the grand Madison Avenue hustle.

 

Knives for cooking are a very persona item. If you like Old Hickory, for

heaven's sakes, use old Hickory- I like them well enough that I'll cheerfully

use them- they're a decent, inexpensive knife.

 

Myself, I don't go out of my way to buy brand names. If something has a

popular brand name,it generally tells me a little bit about the knife, but

it isn't until you hold it in your hand and use it, and see how it feels when

you work with it, then use it, and see how long its edge lasts, and how

difficult it is to sharpen, then you know the kife.

 

If you want to pick up inexpensive but decent knives, don't go to the cooking

supply shops in malls, go check out your local hardware stores. They will

often have a selection of decent, useful knoves for reasonable prices. Don't

worry about a matched set, unless you get a good deal on a set that at least

half of them are something you think will fit well in your hand.

 

As a general rule, I'd stay away from the cheap Asian knock-offs of various

brands, the reason being that their steels are very inconsistant- they

haven't gotten the tech organized well enough to produce a consistant quality

of steel, so you might get one knife that's absolutely wonderful, and the

next one is absolutely worthless.

 

But, get what YOU like, and ignore the people who play the game of knife envy-

  most of them don't know what they're talking about in the first place.

 

Saint Phlip,

CoD

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 15:43:00 -0700 (PDT)

From: Chris Stanifer <jugglethis at yaoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

--- marilyn traber 011221 <phlip at 99mai.com> wrote:

> Dunno what all this noise is about liking or disliking one brand or another-

> I think many of us have been suckered by the "brand names you can trust" way

> of thinking, the grand Madison Avenue hustle.

 

Well, that may be true for ome things, but when it comes to knives (especially if you use them in your profession like I do), a 'brand name you can trust' really does make a difference.  There are

brands out there which, quite frankly, I wouldn't recommend for a jail

break, much less a

professional or home kitchen.  Cheap materials, and shoddy workmanship

can lead to a dull blade...and a dull blade can lead quite easily to injury.

 

Besides, if you are going to invest in a knife (and a good knife is an

investment), you don't want

to buy blind.  Recommendations from those who know what they are

talking about can certainly be a

good starting point.  I'm not a metalsmith or metalurgist, but I do

know what makes a good knife,

because I've been using them regularly for almost half m life.

 

Most good knife shops will allow you to handle the blade before you buy it (if they don't, you shouldn't buy it), so you can see if it will fit nicely in your hand, guage the weight and heft,and examine the workmanship.

 

Of course, there are some real finds out there, too, as have been

described previously... yard

sales, estate sales and second-hand stores often have good quality

knives at a cut-throat rate.

 

> As a general rule, I'd stay away from the cheap Asian knock-offs of various

> bands, the reason being that their steels are very inconsistant- they

> haven't gotten the tech organized well enough to produce a consistant quality

> of steel, so you might get one knife that's absolutely wonderful, and the

> next one is absolutelyworthless.

 

I have to echo this statement, and add that if a blade advertises that

it will never dull (or that

you can chop apart an engine block and still slice a tomato paper

thin), steer clear of it.  A

metal that hard may keep an edge for a while, but once it dulls (and it

will) it will be pretty

much useless for the remainder of its life.

 

> But, get what YOU like, and ignore the people who play the game of knife envy-

>  most of them don't know what they're talking about in the first place.

 

I'm not sure if I would use the word 'most', but there are those out

there who feel that they are

experts on everything, and 'some' of them don't know what they are

talking about.  I'd stick to

listening to those of us who use knives on a regular basis, and have

the weight of experience to back us up.

 

William de Grandfort

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 004 21:53:09 -0400

From: Brett McNamara <brettmc at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

While I try to make the basic chef's knife ( or santoku ) do as much

work as possible, there are a few more that really make life easier,

as opposed to being one shot wonders.

 

Paring knife, of course.

 

I find a boning knife has a number of application.  In addition to

removing primal cuts from big stuff, it's my weapon of choice for

chicken disassembly.

 

I like a scalloped slicer.  Good for long, consistent cuts on larger

pieces of meat.  London broil. (The occasional bagel. ;)

 

A serrated bread knife  Sure, you can't really sharpen the bloody

things, but sometimes you just need one.  My alternative is to use one

of the blades from an electric knife; it's [a] hack, but works about the

same.

 

I'm sure other folks have a slightly different list, but those are the

only ones I've ever found I needed.  Please, someone offer another

list.  I'm curious.

 

Wistan

 

 

Date: Tue, 19 Oc 2004 00:43:54 -0400

From: "marilyn traber 011221" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

>> And as far as the other knife discussion going on. NEVER put a knife

>> through the dishwasher unless itıs made to take the heat! Youıll take

>> all of the temper out of the blade.

>

> Ok, I've heard this, but the temperatures are AFAIK way to ow to

> accomplish this. Would the highly alkaline environment do it? Mechanical

> damage is of course an issue, but that is never addressed when this

> issue is discussed.

>

> UlfR

 

It can cause tempering problems, depending on the temp of the water ad how

long it's hot. Some of the drying cycles on some machines can get pretty high-

keep in mind, that you can temper and anneal some steels in the oven. The

big problem, though is the alkaline environment, as far as the blades go.

 

But, there's th rest of the knife to deal with as well- the handle material,

the rivets, and sometimes the glues can be seriously affected. Copper does

considerable expansion and contraction from temperature changes, and

considering many rivets are made of either copper or copper alloys (brass,

occasionally bronze) you're just asking for trouble if it's continually

shrinking and expanding- there's enough movement to create a fair amount of

wear on the handle material, and eventually the handle's going to come

loose. Steel rivets do it too, although not quite as obviously.

 

Dishwashers are just not good things for good knives, but y'all do what you

want to...

 

Phlip

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 05:32:10 +0200

From: UlfR <ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius <adamantius.magister at verizon.net> wrote:

> an 8", high-carbon, non-stainless Sabatier chef's knife, which takes

> and holds a lovely edge easily, but which has me thumping my knuckles

> on the cutting board occasionally -- the heel of the blade is fairly

> narrow, maybe 1 3/8 inches, tops. In general, an 8-inch chef's knife

> is a good choice for women, who tend to have smaller forearms and

> hands then men, all other things being more or less equal.

 

I actually found a 8" Sabatier that had a sufficiently wide blade that

is was useable with my hands; I agree that most of them does not share

this feature. But I've been using the "top" grip quite a bit the last

few years, making the blade width less of an issue. The grip is made by

grabbing the blade just front of the handle between the thumb and first

knucke of the (curled) first finger, and then wrapping the rest of the

fingers around the handle.  I've seen several pictures of pros using

this grip, and like the combination of control and power.

 

UlfR

--

UlfR Ketilson                               ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org

 

 

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 23:13:59 -0700 (PDT)

From: Chris Stanifer <jugglethis at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

--- UlfR <ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org> wrote:

  But I've been using the "top" grip quite a bit the last

> few years, making the blade width less of an issue. The grip is made by

> grabbing the blade just front of the handle between the thumb and first

> knucke of the (curled) first finger, and then wrapping the rest of the

> fingers around the handle.  I've seen several pivtures of pros using

> this grip, and like the combination of control and power.

 

This is the grip I use, for most tasks.  Drawing the first knuckle towards you, or pushing the thumb away from you, allows you to pivot the knife when making delicate  cuts or carving melons.  I have also found that this grip is best (for me, anyway) for chopping  large amounts of parsley or other fresh herbs, as it allows me to chop faster by 'bouncing' the  handle of the knife against my palm while chopping.  A fairly loose grip on the blade itself facilitates free up-and-down movement of the blade, and this also saves wear and tear on the wrist.   Of course, two knives working at the same time is even faster :)

 

William de Grandfort

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 07:56:21 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

        <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Another knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Also sprach UlfR:

> Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

> [2004.10.19] wrote:

>>  an 8", high-carbon, non-stainless Sabatier chef's knife, which takes

>>  and holds a lovely edge easily, but which has me thumping my knuckles

>>  on the cutting board occasionally -- the heel of the blade is fairly

>>  narrow, maybe 1 3/8 inches, tops. In general, an 8-inch chef's knife

>>  is a good choice for women, who tend to have smaller forearms and

>>  hands then men, all other things being more or less equal.

>

> I actually found a 8" Sabatier that had a sufficiently wide blade that

> is was useable with my hands; I agree that most of them does not share

> this feature. But I've been using the "top" grip quite a bit the last

> few years, making the blade width less of an issue. The grip is made by

> grabbing the blade just front of the handle between the thumb and first

> knuckle of the (curled) first finger, and then wrapping the rest of the

> fingers around the handle.  I've seen several pictures of pros using

> this grip, and like the combination of control and power.

 

That's true: it gives the user a better feel for where the blade is

going (kind of like manual steering in an automobile), and it also

means both greater control and greater safety, since the knife isn't

rolling around in your grip. But what it means is that when using the

Sabatiers, I tend to only bruise three knuckles instead of four.

 

Since this part of the discussion to some extent stems from

imprecision on my part, I guess we should discuss grip for a bit. I'm

willing to risk going over material we're all familiar with in our

sleep if it helps one person. As UlfR mentions, this is the preferred

grip (at least for a chef's knife) among more experienced cooks. One

of the things I always get a secret giggle out of in movies and

television is watching an actor who is clearly unfamiliar with using

a chef's knife clutching it in his fist and using it in a manner that

must be cheerfully endorsed by the World Association of Carpal Tunnel

Surgeons. This involves a stroke of the knife wherein the heel of the

blade does most of the work, which is as it should be, but the force

is decreased by either following with the point at some later date

(essentially absorbing shock by flexing the wrist), or even by using

the Dread Sawing Motion.

 

Ideally, though, for chopping and much slicing (depending on what the

item is), the preferred ideal motion involves keeping the point more

or less anchored on or near the surface of the cutting board, and

sliding it about two inches or so from side to side in a sort of

invisible track, while moving the center and heel of the blade in a

circular motion that looks a bit like watching the wheels on a

steam-driven locomotive.

 

I actually have a book that is a 1913 collection (I used to own two

editions of the original, but they were lost in a fire, to be

replaced just  year or two ago by a facsimile of the earlier edition)

of monthly pages in Popular Mechanics Magazine devoted to children's

projects (all under the title "The Boy Mechanic"). Somewhere in it,

there are instructions for driving a narrow staple, like a tiny

croquet hoop, into your cutting board to hold the point of the knife

in place, allowing a more mechanically advantageous use of the knife.

I mention this only to underscore the fact that this kind of blade

motion has been preferred by serious cooks for quite some time.

 

Using this type of motion, though, does affect the length of blade

the user will tend to find most comfortable. As I believe I briefly

mentioned earlier, many women seem to prefer an 8" blade over a 10"

blade, and while the weight of the blade is often an issue, another

is a big change in the arc motion of the hand, by changing the radius

of that arc.

 

But as for the Mysterious Barking of the Knuckles, it may simply be

that Sabatiers, all other things being equal, are made for people

with smaller hands, and this fact (if it is a fact) might be muddied

a bit by the grip of a chef's knife, which generally doesn't involve

all four fingers and the thumb wrapped around the grip.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 17:49:20 -0800 (PST)

From: Chris Stanifer <jugglethis at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re [Sca-cooks] New Years greetings and a knife question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

--- Susan Laing <paxford at dodo.com.au> wroe:

> And on to the Knife question - my Mother-in-law(to be) gifted me with one of

> those curved knives with two wooden handle bits and for the life of me

> I can> not remember it's proper name [o'h doppey me]

>

> A little help on this please? :-D

>

> Marion

 

That's a mezzaluna.  With a little practice, it can be one of your most valuable kitchen tools. In a wooden bowl, you can make easy work of chopping nuts, garlic, fruit, etc..and on a cutting board, you can use one of these to mince up chicken and other meats.  I find all kinds of uses for mine, even using it handle-side down, clamped between two vice grips, to scrape the fat off of a

piece of soon-to-beleather.

 

William de Grandfort

 

 

Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 09:58:02 -0400

From: "King's Taste Productions" <kingstaste at comcast.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Knife Blocks and Magnetic Strips

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

I had to do away with the trusty knife block.  Seems that here in the south,

cockroaches just love the things.  Can you say roach motel?  I had a whole

condominium.

 

I now have 40 inches of magnetic strip over my stoves, filled to the brim

with all of my blades.  I like it, they are accessible, stay clean, bugs

don't bother them, and they are very impressive to new people that  

walk into my kitchen ;)

 

Christianna

 

 

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 07:38:26 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Possible bargain on knife set for       anyone

        interested...

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

There are books such as these titles:

 

Knife Skills Illustrated A User's Manual

# Over 300 step-by-step illustrations for right- and lefthanded cooks.

# Exact instructions on how to do everything: mince onions, julienne

ginger, bone trout, carve turkey.

# How to select the best knives and cutting boards.

# Directions for proper knife maintenance.

 

Coming in March is Mastering Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to the

Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen by Norman Weinstein

 

And next month is In the Hands of a Chef: The Professional Chef's Guide

to Essential Kitchen Tools (Culinary Institute of America)

by The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)

 

Johnnae (playing librarian)

 

Stefan li Rous wrote: snipped--

> And lastly, what is the optimum use for each of these knives? Or for

> what kitchen tasks would you use each of these knives?

>

> Stefan

 

<the end>



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