Kitchen Tips

Knives and Cutting Boards

For a functional kitchen and easy food preparation, one must have a good knife or several.  I have used many knives since beginning my journey into creative cooking.  I have tried the inexpensive knives from the big box stores and the very expensive knife kits from the internet.  I have a beautiful set of stainless knives which I never use, because they simply don’t cut well.  Years ago, my mother gave me a single knife made by Rada.  I used it and it cut wonderfully.  When it was time to wash it, I threw it in the dishwasher and the handle pitted and turned an ugly gray.  Since it was no longer pretty, I decided to use it as a utility knife and it served it’s purpose very well. My mother, of course, was disappointed in my choice of use of the knife.

Many years later, I found Rada knife sets at The Huntsville Pantry, in Huntsville, Arkansas.  I bought a couple of single knives and a sharpener.  These became my mainstay knives.  They keep their edge much longer than a usual knife, which is fantastic since I am often in a hurry and don’t have time to sharpen my knife prior to each use.  I hand wash them to keep them from tarnishing.  Of all of my knives from grandparents, birthday presents and trips, these are the knives that I go to every time.  I also found a cheese knife that makes cheese cutting a breeze and a potato peeler that maintains its sharpness.  I have bought sets for several of my friends and sisters with a selfish purpose in mind,  if I were to prepare food in their kitchen, I would have a good knife to use.

I also recommend a wooden cutting board, well several really.  A small one that is designated for cutting fruit only.  A medium or large one that can be used for cutting other vegetables.  The reason behind multiple is that if an onion or pepper has been cut on your cutting board, the oils and juices will permeate the wood and then if you cut a piece of fruit on the same board, your fruit will taste of the onion or the pepper.  This principle is the same for meat. You want to make sure that the board that you use to cut meat is not used to cut anything that you will eat raw.  When you are cutting potatoes or lots of vegetables or preparing a meal for many people, you may want a larger board, but the large board is cumbersome for everyday use.  I don’t recommend glass because it will dull your knives.  I don’t recommend plastic as your knife will cut it and you may add plastic to your food.  Also, after the first use it will host bacteria in the cracks formed by the knives.  Wood on the other hand, will not dull the knives as glass does and the wood comes from a tree which has been fighting bacteria and insects all its life and will continue to do so during its life as your cutting board. 9-21-14

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