Many cooks have a favorite pan or spoon, but none of that comes close to the relationship cooks have with their favorite knives.
A good knife is the most important part of the kitchen. Even a master chef can prepare a delicious meal with inferior pots and pans, but a bad knife just wont do. Whether you are slicing, dicing, chopping, paring mincing or carving, the right knife is an essential tool in the kitchen.
One of the most important things to consider when buying a knife is to figure out what is most comfortable for you. When shopping, make sure to hold each knife in your hand and see how it feels. Youll want it to be comfortable. Make sure it has a good grip and feels balanced. The handle should be riveted to the blade for security. Also, check the weight of the knife. A heavier knife will have a better balance through the pivot point where the handle meets the blade.
You can purchase cutlery as individual pieces or as a set. Typically buying it as a set is a better deal as it will most likely be cheaper than buying individual knives. A basic knife set should come with several starter pieces a paring knife, a chefs knife, a utility knife, a carving knife and a bread knife. Sometimes a set will also come with scissors and a steel sharpening tool. Also, getting a block to store it all is the safest and best way to keep your cutlery because it protects the blades from damage.
Depending on the type of the handle your knives have, you may not want to put them in the dishwasher. Even if your handles are dishwasher safe, the knives can knock against other items, which can cause nicks in the blade. Washing by hand is highly recommended.
Keeping your knives sharp and clean is very important. A dull knife will usually cause more injuries than a sharp one and simply will not be effective. All straight-edged knives do need sharpening, but knives with serrated edges do not. At a minimum, you should give your knives a thorough sharpening annually. Always make sure to protect the blades when storing your knives.
It does matter what type of knife sharpener you use, because the wrong one can actually do more harm than good. Sharpening steel works very well on almost all knives. An already sharp knife only requires a few light pressured strokes on the sharpening steel to maintain the sharp edge. If you do not wish to use the steel frequently, additional strokes will be necessary to re-establish a keen cutting edge. Other cooks may prefer to use a sharpening stone. A sharpening stone has two sides: one rough and one fine, and its used the same way as sharpening steel.