23 December 2008

And now, Harold Angel will sing …

Since I’m in an edgy mood, it’s time to take another whack at Evan’s questions.

This time we’ll go back to the top:

1. You've talked about different kinds of sharpness -- cutting turkeys vs cutting tomatoes vs wood carving. What do you do for knives you use in the kitchen for multiple purposes? Chopping onions, mincing garlic, slicing tomatoes, slicing cucumbers, etc. I keep a separate knife around specifically for cutting bread, ought I to consider keeping separate knives around for tomatoes?

Good question!

Our stock answer [woo hoo! a kitchen double entendre …] fits pretty well here: it depends.

If you’re a serious cook and you can really feel the difference between these degrees of sharpness/smoothness when you’re cutting up stuff in the kitchen … by all means, prepare specific knives for specific tasks.

If you’re a not so serious cook, well … don’t sweat it.

Certain foodstuffs, like bread, pretty much require a specific knife … unless you like your loaves mashed and torn instead of sliced neatly.

Tomatoes are another item where a specially prepped knife can do wonders … but unless you’re a true fanatic, a highly paid professional or just get your kicks from having a fully loaded knife rack [stop trying to look innocent!], a properly sharpened chef’s knife will probably do the trick quite nicely.

When we move from the prep side of the kitchen to the staging and plating of foods to be served, it’s time to add a knife or two to the equation …

For carving neat slices off large hunks of roasted meats, you can’t beat a good carving knife. Likewise, if you’re doing fancy garnishes or tiny sculpted veggies you’ll probably want something other than your handy-dandy chef’s knife … but those [in my experience, anyway] are the exceptions. Most of the time, the knife I reach for is my tried and true 9 inch chef’s knife.

Until next time, ‘appy ‘olidays!