OK….let’s talk knives for a moment.  I’m sure you’ve heard plenty on the subject, but being that this is my blog…I’m gonna talk about knives dammit.

I could sit here and extol the virtues of Japanese blades versus their Western counterparts…and that you can even get a set of (3) excellent Japanese knives from Global for a very reasonable price but that would be a digression from the general point I want to make.  Whatever your blade may be (just as long as it’s not one of those perma-sharp, micro serrated knives….I can’t stand those)….MAKE SURE IT IS SHARP!  A sharp knife makes your life easier.  Your prep time will be shortened and your food will look more professional (not as if someone hacked blindly at the ingredients before cooking them).  Also, contrary to popular belief, a great deal of kitchen injuries come from dull knives and not sharp ones.  This isn’t to say you can’t lop off the tip of a finger as if it were a piece of watermelon when using a crazy sharp knife (as I have done in the past).  But a sharp knife means injury comes from a human error and whereas the opposite is often the result of an inferior implement (that sounds waaaay more sexual than I intended but it’s too late for the backspace at this point).  Example: if you’re cutting something with a tough skin…say a tomato….and you’re using a dull knife…you just might have difficulty slicing the skin, then the knife could slide off the spherical shape, and it’s very possible you would land that blade right on top of one of your digits.  The resulting wound will be one of those gnarly dull-knife cuts that are far more painful than a miscue from a sharpened one.

So now that you’ve sharpened your knife….learn to HONE it.  That long, slim, steel cylinder you see chefs whisking their blades around?  That’s not a sharpener….it’s a steel…and it’s purpose is to hone a blade.  If you have a good knife that is sharpened properly…that edge will last for months.  However, as you use the knife, the edge will begin to bend to either the right or left with each pound on the cutting board.  This is where the steel comes in.  By repeatedly passing both sides (unless of course you have a traditional Japanese knife that has only one sharp side) of your blade along the steel at the proper angle (it depends on the type of knife you use…check your manufacturer’s specs), you can return the edge to its correct position.  Sharpen and hone…it’s not a buddy-cop show…it’s the key to keeping your knives happy.