Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sharpest knife in the drawer?

Every three months, roughly, using the change of seasons as a guide, I like to spend a few moments sharpening my small set of cooking knives. 

They’re nothing really special - Chicago Cutlery from back in the days when it was still a respected brand - but I’ve been using them for most of my adult life. The larger chef’s knife has been my No. 1 kitchen tool since around 1974, so it’s an old friend.

I hone them on a steel before just about every use, but you want to be more circumspect about actually sharpening these sturdy but comparatively soft carbon-steel blades. Use a diamond stone on them every few days, and in a few years you’ll turn your chef’s knife into a boning knife! Or so I’m told. I really don’t want to find out.

Instead, I keep an eye on the calendar and, when the seasons change, give them all a fresh edge. This approach seems to work, and when I can zip through an onion or julienne a green pepper in just a few seconds, it makes me happy.

How about you?  Do you keep your best kitchen knives sharp?  Any particular scheduling or technique “rituals” that you’d like to share?

Diamond stone

For the last few years, by the way, I’ve been using a simple diamond whetstone that I got from Amazon.com for around $30.  I think the investment was well worth while.  It’s easy to learn how to use it - basically, just think of yourself as using the knife to shave off a very thin layer of diamond (as if it could) for four or five strokes on each side. Then finish with honing steel and I’m good to go for another three months.

Here’s a link to the stone on Amazon.com. Highly recommended, and if you buy, we’ll earn a few pence on the sale for our little Internet corporate empire.