A good knife is an essential tool in any chef’s kitchen. Once you have one you’re more confident in your skills and almost certainly more adept, anyhow. A sharp knife is a proper guard against accidents in the workplace since less pressure required translates to a lowered chance of injury. My rule of thumb has always been if a knife can, without a serrated edge, cut a tomato without bruising, then you’re in good shape. I grew up in a house where tomatoes were either misshapen as a result of blunt frustration, or otherwise cut into big chunks, if at all, to allow the fruit to supplement the support our knives lacked.
My first personal knife was one of Shun’s lowest quality knives (a set of three for $30). they are entirely too heavy, comically beveled, and don’t seem to feel quite right in either a right or left hand. even so, having enjoyed my first cross section of a tomato that didn’t appear to have been stepped on got me cooked on decent knives ever since.
The Chelsea Market today (and for some days to come i understand) is hosting the Zwilling J.A. Henckels sample sale. I’ve always understood sample sales to be a place where people line up on a saturday or sunday with a group of people who have some secret agreement that they’d skip brunch this once so they can be allowed in to a store in small groups in order to battle each other for pants that fit none of them. The security at the door admits a number based upon whatever pool is forming at the behest of a group of wealthy and unconventional gamblers while the contestants eventually emerge feeling no more complete and now in need of a tailor.
Most people have real jobs, though, so at ten am on a Wednesday (it is Wednesday, right?) competition was almost non-existent for me. Having long been loyal to the Shun brand (i’ve since upgraded and rewarded myself with a chef’s, paring, and utility knife of some actual worth) i headed over anyway as I’m spending the better part of the month in Chelsea. If haste makes waste i believe that sloth can produce loss. As I posited over a set that is normally $740 but reduced to $200. As I tried to calculate whether or not a 73% reduction in price might warrant an impulse buy, some d-bag grabbed not only the set I was eying but the two identical sets beneath it. Already on somewhat of a “shopaholic binge” (much about our culture suddenly became clear to me if only for a moment) I still walked out with a beautiful santoku. A fellow shopped assured me I was getting a better knife since the German steel would last longer with less care. I am not accounting here for his Bavarian citizenship, but I do now need to go balance my checkbook.