Although I?m not completely sure on this, but I personally think that the first cooking implement created by man was the knife. Ever since the Stone Age, man used knives to hunt and gather their food, and later on used to prepare food when fire was discovered. Several centuries later, the knife is still one of the most common and most used tools everywhere you can find a kitchen. Everywhere you go, from homes to cafes and restaurants, you will find all sorts of knives being used for almost every food preparation and cooking task.
But although we can all agree about the importance of this versatile tool, the fact remains that still a lot of people don?t know how to handle and take care of their knives properly. Perhaps it?s because knives don?t have instruction manuals.
One of my pet peeves is watching people handle knives wrongly. But then, no one showed us how to use knives properly whe we were little. Our parents just told us that knives were dangerous and to keep away from them. Knives may not come with instruction manuals indeed, but that?s not a reason why people shouldn?t learn to use them properly.
You have to learn how to correctly hold a knife. Basically, there are three ways to hold a knife, depending on the knife and what is being cut. When cutting against the board, the knife should generally be held with the thumb and forefinger gripping the blade. The handle should be held with the other fingers. When cutting hanging meat, hold the knife in a dagger-like fashion to get the right amount of leverage. And when turning or peeling with a small knife, it should be held with one or two fingers gripping the blade, with the othersthe rest around the handle.
Learn also how to care for your knives. A wooden board should be used for chopping and cutting. Plastic boards are not as gentle on the edge of the knife as wooden boards. Get a board with the end-grain as a cutting surface, rather than side grain. Why? End-grain surfaces are the smoothest, least abrasive surface to cut against, so your knife?s edge will last a longer time.
Always store a knife in a way that protects the blade, such as a plastic sleeve or a paperboard. Clean a knife after using it, then dry and store. Do not wash knives in a dishwasher, or just throw it in the wash basin. Remember that you have to protect the edge from other hard surfaces. To properly sharpen a knife, the best way is to use a knife sharpener with an abrasive, diamond surface. Of course, you can always use a whetstone, but it takes a lot of experience to be able to sharpen a knife to razor-like sharpness with it.