Thumbs. All thumbs. Our hands are designed to work with five digits on each, one of them being a thumb (one per hand, that is). Being “All Thumbs” usually describes someone who is clumsy or cannot master the dexterity needed for a certain task. It’s ironic (isn’t it?) that these days communicating through texting IS all thumbs. I must admit, using only my thumbs I am the world’s most clumsy texter! But we’re talking about kitchen tools and cooking skills so back to that…
If you are one of those people who is “All Thumbs” in the kitchen let me dispel the myth or maybe the fear that working with a sharp knife is somehow more dangerous for you. Obviously, great care must be taken when working with an object that could easily perform surgical cuts to your precious digits (all five of them or ten if you’re really inept). However, the truth is, a DULL knife is a DANGEROUS knife. If you do not have a sharp edge on your blade, you will exert more pressure, cut “harder” or saw more with the blade. These can all cause your knife blade to go off in directions you did not intend or skip across your cutting board to an unintended object. This is no bueno!
A sharp knife blade will move more smoothly and easily through the food you are cutting. Now, in the past there were knives with a Japanese sounding name advertised all over TV with infomercials that made you think that knives should be used to cut through beer cans, the soles of your shoes and thick pieces of rope. Please don’t EVER use your good kitchen knives for these tasks. Really, why are you cutting through beer cans anyway?! Good knives are an investment for your kitchen and should be treated like anything else you invest in. Treat them with care and special handling so that you get a return on your investment and reap the full value of them.
The best thing you can do for your good knives is have a good cutting surface. This does not mean any flat item or space in your kitchen. Don’t pull out a dinner plate or a baking sheet to do your cutting! Use a good cutting board. A board that has “give” so the knife blade doesn’t strike the surface and “bounce” back. Polypropylene boards are good boards that give way to the knife blade. After repeated use, there will actually be small grooves in the surface of the board from multiple cuts of the knife. This is okay. If the grooves are deep or catch your food and you want a smoother surface, you can use extra fine sand paper to lightly smooth out the grooves (and then wash the board!). They’re also great in that they can be bleached and run through the dishwasher to completely remove any raw meat bacteria and prevent cross-contamination. When my boards have gotten stained by dark fleshed vegetables or other foods, I let a bit of liquid cleanser with bleach sit on the surface for a while before scrubbing and running through the dishwasher. They always come out bright white and I know they are sanitized from the heat of the dishwasher.
If you are cooking every day and preparing at least one meal in your own kitchen, your knives need to be able to stand up to that daily use. Pampered Chef’s Forged Cutlery is the knife collection to consider. These knives are heavy-duty and come with a lifetime guarantee. If you are not in the kitchen very often, then I hope you are following this blog for more ideas about how to become a better cook. Quick, go hit the subscribe button and get my free ebook with my favorite recipes. In the meantime, take a look at our Color Coated Knife Collection. These are fine for regular use and have a one-year guarantee. They are still able to make those surgical cuts I mentioned earlier though. So don’t think that if you’re not going for the highest quality knife, that it won’t be super sharp when you take it out of the package.
I hope you’ll put safety first and get yourself an appropriate sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board with some give to help keep your knife sharp. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned cook, you’ll be better off with the right tools for the job. Now, what are you going to chop or slice or mince or cut up? Well, that’s another blog post… so stay tuned.